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F. A. D'CRUZ, K.S.G. 




An Investigation based on the latest researches in 

connection with the Time-honoured Tradition 

regarding the martyrdom of St. Thomas 

in Southern India 


BY ' 

*F. A. D'CRUZ, K.S.G., 

Retired Superintendent, General Records, Government 

Secretariat, Madras, and Editor, " The Catholic 

Register" San Thome. 











Introduction by Very Rev. Mgr. A. M. Teixeira, 
Vicar-General and Administrator of the Diocese 
of San Thome . . . . . . vii 


I. The Bible Record . . . . 1 

II. The Tradition .. ..3 


I. Connection with India . . 4 
II. In Southern India .. .. ..12 

III. Dr. Medlycott on the subject .. ..26 

IV. The doubt about the Martyrdom . . . . 32 
V. The Martyrdom Different Versions . . 35 

VI. The Malabar Tradition .. ..38 

VII. The Traditional Record according to Dr. 

Medlycott . . . . . . 40 

VIII. Calamina .. .. .. ..42 

IX. Mylapore . . . . . . . . 46 

X. Conclusions .. .. ..50 


I. India of the Ancients . . . . 52 

II. St. Pantrenus . . . . ... 54 

III. The Jews . . . . . . 57 

IV. Ecclesiastical support to the Tradition . . 58 



I. Miracles In Poetry .. .. ..60 

II. The Log .. ,. .. ..63 

III. St. Thomas' Mount .. .. ..64 

IV. The Little Mount .. .. ..66 

V. Concluding Remarks . . . . 67 

Authorities Consulted . . . . 69 

53.1 ! 30 



To face page 




ST. THOMAS' MOUNT . . . . . . . . 3 


Explanation. First and second bays contain scenes based 
on the ' Golden Legend ' regarding the Apostle 
Thomas ; third and fourth bays have scenes of the life 
of St. Stephen the Martyr. 

Left bottom : (1) King Gondophares sends Habban to 
engage a builder. (2) Christ instructs Thomas to go to 
India. (3) Christ consigns Thomas to Habban. 
(4) Habban and Thomas embark for India. (5) 
Banquet feast, King and others present. (6) Thomas 
is struck on the cheek by the cup-bearer. (7) Cup- 
bearer killed by a lion. (8) Thomas at the King's 
request blesses the bride. (9) Thomas before King 
Gondophares. (10) Thomas distributes the King's 
money in alms. (11) Destruction of the idol (the devil 
in the form of a black monster). (12) The high priest 
kills Thomas. 



AT SAN THOME . . . . . . . . 12 






D'OR, FRANCE . . . . . . . . 35 



To face page 

Explanation. First Medallion, bottom, right: (1) Christ 
orders Thomas to proceed to India (the gate indicates 
departure from Caesarea). (2) Thomas presented to the 
King. (3) Marriage banquet. (4) Cup-bearer attacked 
by a wild beast. 

Second Medallion : (1) Thomas blesses the bride and 
bridegroom. (2) Thomas before a King (Gondophares). 

(3) King orders the construction of a palace. (4) Thomas 
points to heaven where the palace has been erected. 

Third Medallion : Thomas sentenced and sent to prison. 
(2) Thomas distributes blessed bread, or communion, 
to his converts. (3) He blesses Mygdonia while in prison. 

(4) Perhaps an apparition of the Apostle after death. 







MOUNT PAINTED ON WOOD . . . . . . 64 





MOUNT . . . . . . . . 67 



The travels, labours, and martyrdom of St. Thomas, 
the Apostle, have always been a topic of absorbing 
interest. More literature has perhaps been written on 
the question of the journeys of the " Unbelieving Apostle " 
by writers catholic and non-catholic than on any other 
St. Peter's excepted. Serious doubts based on so-called 
" Historic Criticism " have been raised as to the tradi- 
tional length and breadth of the field covered by the 
preaching of this Apostle of Christ. Some critics, while 
they are not disposed to accept the possibility of the 
Gospel having been preached in the Malabar and the 
Coromandel Coasts by St. Thomas, deign at least to admit 
that he preached the Gospel in the extreme north-west of 
India ; but that he ever crossed over to Southern India 
is indeed to them a " hard saying ". The coins now in the 
British Museum and elsewhere of King Gondophernes, or 
Gondophares, who ruled over those regions at the time of 
St. Thomas, and the latter's connection with his Court, 
seem to leave no doubt in the minds of such critics as 
to the fact that St. Thomas preached the Gospel in his 
kingdom that is, in the north-west corner of the Indian 
Peninsula. As to his having crossed over from the North 
to Southern India, however, is questioned by them, since, 
as they allege, they can see no evidence forthcoming. 
They have therefore tried to relegate the existing tradition 
in the South to the Limbo of legend, or of a " quid 
pro quo." 

Now, the author of the present work, Mr. F. A. 
D'Cruz. K.S.G., while he does not hesitate to bring forward. 


as far as possible, all the objections that have been raised 
against the time-honoured tradition, has, on the other 
hand, very ably gathered together in a nutshell all that 
can be said in support of the tradition that St. Thomas 
preached and suffered martyrdom in Southern India 
drawing his arguments from the data supplied both by 
writers sceptic and by writers believing. He has left out 
of consideration every statement and shade of opinion 
which might be called in question. He gives us in this 
work the cream of the evidence thus far unquestioned 
gleaned with great patience from a deep comparative study 
of different authors on the subject and which may with 
confidence be said at least to support very strongly the 
tradition of the apostolate and martyrdom of St. Thomas 
in Southern India. 

The author's position is (1) that, even if the evidence 
so far available is not such as to compel belief, it never- 
theless argues very strongly in favour of the tradition 
which places the martyrdom of St. Thomas in Southern 
India ; and (2) that the writers who have tried to dis- 
credit, or disprove, it have failed to do so. Bearing this in 
mind, sceptics and ultra-critics will set themselves a hard 
task should they still persevere in trying to destroy a hoary 
tradition based upon such pertinent facts as our author 
has so well succeeded in marshalling together in this 
relatively small publication. 

It has been admitted by the best authorities that it 
was by no means difficult for St. Thomas to find his way 
to Southern India by way of the Persian G-ulf, or the 
Red Sea, even if he could not have done so over- 
land. Roman vessels were plentiful in those days both in 


Malabar and Ceylon. Their route was the Eed Sea which 
the Eomans easily reached from Alexandria. Numerous 
gold and silver coins from the time of Augustus 
Caesar have recently been un- earthed in Malabar and 
Ceylon. These facts again suggest the possibility of 
St. Thomas having followed the Roman route to India via 
the Red Sea. And the fact that the Island of Socotra 
claims to have been evangelised by this Apostle is signifi- 
cant. In this connection again the following words quoted 
from an April number of the " Madras Times" 1915, 
relating to a collection of such coins in the Madras Museum 
will be read with interest : 

" It is wonderful testimony to the extent of the 
Roman Empire that out here in India there should be so 
many finds of old Roman coins. Mr. Desikachariar tells 
us that for a period dating from Augustus, whose reign 
included the year 1 of the Christian era, there was consi- 
derable commercial intercourse between South India and 
Rome. In the luxurious days of the Emperors, treasures 
were imported from all parts of the world into the great 
<city. It is interesting to wonder whether these coins 
at the Museum were the price of peacocks supplied 
for the glorification of a Csesar's wife." 

" Roman intercourse with India was such that a force 
of Roman cohorts was stationed on the Malabar Coast to 
protect Roman trade and it is thought possible that the 
supplies of Roman coins in India may have been minted 
locally for the convenience of the large colony of Roman 
merchants and Roman soldiers in India and Ceylon/' 

" Tyler Denett again while describing the Romantic 
History of Ameradhapura the dream city of Ceylon in 


the New York Tribune, says that Koman coins a few gold 
ones and many of copper have been found in the ruins of 
other cities. Doubtless the Singalese maintained commer- 
cial relations with the Eomans for centuries after Constan- 
tinople was established." 

The thanks, therefore, and gratitude of the Diocese of 
St. Thomas of Meliapur are due to the author for his patient 
study, research, and endeavour in bringing out a publica- 
tion which in a few pages throws more light perhaps on 
the subject than volumes of others have done. The 
thanks are his too of all the lovers of this fiery Apostle 
whose own doubt of Christ's Resurrection from the Dead 
affords us the surest proof of it, of that Apostle, I say, 
who we at forth into the farthest ends of the earth preaching 
his Risen Lord and God. I have no doubt this little 
volume will appeal to the learned besides being of interest 
to the genera] reader and to the many pilgrims in parti- 
cular, as well as tourists, who from all parts of the world 
constantly visit the Apostle's Shrines at the San Thome 
Cathedral, the " Little Mount", and St. Thomas' Mount, 
with which the history of modern Madras is so intimately 
bound up. 



21st December 1921. 


Vicar -General and Administrator of the 

Diocese of Mylapore*. 




No incident is recorded of St. Thomas, the Apostle, 
in the synoptic Gospels. Only his name is mentioned with the 
others in the lists given by Matthew (x. 3), Mark (iii. 18) 
and Luke (vi. 15). In the Gospel of St. John, however, he 
appears in a characteristic light, and is revealed as a person- 
ality of singular charm and interest, full of devotion and 
ready to die with his Lord and Master. It was when 
Jesus was going to Judaea to raise Lazarus to life, where the 
Jews had lately sought to stone Him, and the rest of the dis- 
ciples endeavoured to dissuade Him from making that jour- 
ney, that St. Thomas, who is here called Didymus (twin), 
said : " Let us also go that we may die with Him." (John, 
xi. 16). So great was his love for his Divine Master even 
before the descent of the Holy Ghost. Again, when our 
Lord at the Last Supper informed his disciples that He was 
about to leave them, but told them for their comfort that He 
was going to prepare a place for them in His Father's House, 
and whither he was going they knew and the way they 
knew, St. Thomas, who ardently desired to follow Him, said : 
" Lord, we know not whither thou goest ; and how can we 
know the way ?" Christ at once quieted his misapprehen- 
sion by replying : "I am the way, the truth, and the life : 
no man cometh to the Father, but by me." (John, xiv. 2-6). 
After His resurrection, when our Lord appeared to His dis- 
ciples, Thomas was not with them, and would not credit 

***** *** *** 
**** * 

their statement that they had seen the Lord. " Except I see 
in his hands," he said, " the print of the nails and put my 
finger into His side, I will not believe." He evidently pre- 
sumed that it was a mere phantom or apparition. After 
eight days when the disciples were again assembled and 
Thomas was with them, Jesus appeared and stood in their 
midst, although the doors were shut, and said : " Peace be 
to you." Then addressing Thomas, He said : " Put in thy 
finger hither and see my hands. And bring hither thy hand 
and put it into my side ; and be not faithless but believing." 
Thomas answered and said to Him : " My Lord and my 
God." Jesus then said to him : " Because thou hast seen 
me, Thomas, thou hast believed : blessed are they that have 
not seen and have believed." (John, xx. 20-29). Notwith- 
standing this gentle rebuke of our Lord, the very circum- 
stance of St. Thomas's incredulity at first and subsequent 
confession of faith in the reality of the Resurrection and of 
the Divinity of Christ, is held by the Fathers of the Church 
as having done more to confirm us in our faith in those fun- 
damental truths of Christianity than the belief of all the 
other Apostles. St. Thomas was present again when our 
Lord appeared once more to his disciples by the sea of 
Tiberias (John, xxi. 2) ; and he is mentioned for the last time 
in the Acts of the Apostles (i.13-14) when, after the Ascension 
of Christ into Heaven, Thomas is said to have been in an 
upper room in Jerusalem with the other Apostles, " persever- 
ing with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary 
the mother of Jesus and with his brethren." This is all 
that can be gathered from the Bible regarding Thomas, 
the Apostle. 




As regards his subsequent career, tradition has it, to 
take the summary given in the Roman Breviary, that the 
Apostle Thomas, who was also called Didymus, a Galilean, 
after receiving the Holy Ghost, went to many countries to 
preach the Gospel of Christ ; that he handed over the pre- 
cepts of the Christian faith and life to the Parthians, the 
Medes, the Persians, the Hircanians and the Bactrians ; that 
finally betaking himself to the Indians he instructed them 
in the Christian religion ; that when towards the end, by 
the sanctity of his life and doctrine and the greatness of 
his miracles, he aroused in all others admiration for himself 
and love for Jesus Christ, he greatly excited to anger the King 
of that nation, a worshipper of idols ; and being condemned 
by his sentence and pierced with arrows, he adorned the 
honour of the Apostolate with the crown of martyrdom 
at Calamina. This is supplemented by the information re- 
corded in the Roman Martyrology, where it is further stated 
that his relics were first translated to Edessa (now called 
Urfa or Orfa, a City of Northern Mesopotamia on a tribu- 
tary of the Euphrates) and then to Ortona in Central Italy 
on the Adriatic. Then there is the long-accepted belief that 
he not only visited the north of India, but also preached 
in Southern India, where he established churches and left 
congregations known to this day as the St.Thomas' Christians, 
and that in the end he was martyred in St. Thomas' Mount 
and buried in San Thome, now a suburb of Madras. And 
thus the glory of the introduction of Christianity in India 
has, by time-honoured tradition, been ascribed to St. 
Thomas, the Apostle. 




The question of St. Thomas's connection with India 
has been a subject of perennial interest, and quite a consi- 
derable amount of literature has grown around it. 
Mr. Vincent Smith in his Oxford History of India, 1919, 
remarks, that " the subject has been discussed by many 
authors from every possible point of view, and immense 
learning has been invoked in the hope of establishing one 
or other hypothesis, without reaching any conclusion ap- 
proaching certainty." And he adds : ' There is no reason 
to expect that additional evidence will be discovered." 
It may be that fresh evidence will never be discovered to 
confirm with certainly the time-honoured tradition as we 
have it now. But is it the case that Mr. Vincent Smith 
himself has made the best of what evidence we have ? It is 
hoped that the present investigation will show that the 
evidence already available is even stronger in support of the 
tradition connecting St. Thomas with Southern India than 
Mr. Vincent Smith has allowed, and that those writers who 
are disposed to confine the Apostle's labours to the north 
of India are by no means justified in doing so. 

The most comprehensive research on this subject is con- 
tained in that volume, published in 1905, entitled, " India 
and the Apostle Thomas." by Dr. A. E. Medlycott, at one 
time Vicar Apostolic of Trichur in the Cochin State. And 
yet it is curious to note that Dr. Burkitt in his article on 
St. Thomas in the Encyclopaedia Britannica makes the 
remark that Dr. Medlycott's India and the Apostle Thomas is 
wholly uncritical, and Father Thurston in the bibliography 


Attached to his article on the same subject in the Catholic 
Encyclopedia merely echoes the statement by referring to 
Dr. Medlycott's book, as a work written by a Catholic Vicar 
Apostolic, but uncritical in tone. Neither of these writers, 
however, assigns any reason for so sweeping a statement. As 
the ordinary reader will naturally go to the Encyclopedia 
Britannica or the Catholic Encyclopedia for some short 
condensed information on the subject, it is well to inquire 
how far the articles in them can be relied upon, and how 
far their authors are justified in maintaining as against 
Dr. Medlycott that, while there is evidence to show that 
St. Thomas preached in the north of India, there is not 
sufficient evidence to support the tradition connecting the 
Apostle with Southern India. 

As against the sweeping condemnation of Dr. Medly- 
cott's work referred to, it would suffice to cite the opinion 
of the writer (J. Kennedy), who reviewed Dr. Medlycott's 
work in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for October 
1906. This writer says : "In many respects he is well 
fitted for his task. He has a knowledge of Syriac, and is 
acquainted with the local legends of Mylapore, and the 
latest researches of Indian scholars, as well as of English 
and German students of the Apocrypha. He brings an 
immense mass of material to the discussion the Epitaph of 
Abercius, the Acts of Paul and Thekla, of Andrew, and of 
Archelaus ; he gives the history of the Apostle's relics ; and 
he goes through the evidence for an Indian Church before 
the days of Cosmas Indicopleustes. Moreover, he has 
given as his own special contribution to the subject extracts 
from the Church calendars and sacramentaries." And 
again when concluding his review Mr. Kennedy remarks : 
* If we are seldom convinced by the Bishop's arguments, 


we are thankful to him for the fullness of his materials and 
the antidote he offers to the ultra-sceptical position of Milne 
Bae." Thus, while refusing to accept some of Dr. Medly- 
cott's conclusions, Mr. Kennedy does not grudge to acknow- 
ledge that he was well fitted for his task. Besides, as 
Mr. Vincent Smith also testifies, Dr. Medlycott's book 
" supplies an invaluable collection of ecclesiastical texts " 
and " is full of abstruse learning." We can have no 
hesitation, therefore, in drawing upon Dr. Medlycott's 
materials, among others, for our present investigation, 
without accepting all he has to say on the subject. 

The fault in Dr. Medlycott is that he is too diffuse, 
and " full of abstruse learning," as Mr. Vincent Smith has 
remarked, and he lays more stress on minor points than is 
necessary, and thus diverts the mind from the main issues. 
His object was to bring together a mass of evidence, not 
only to establish the truth of the tradition, but also to 
show that there was a persistent and constant tradition in 
the Church connecting the Apostle with Southern India. 
It is his method that has made it difficult for some critics 
to follow him. 

The Rev. George Milne Rae, referred to by Mr. Ken- 
nedy, was once a Professor of the Christian College, Madras. 
He published a book in 1892 on The Syrian Church 
in India, which is often quoted, and in which he aimed at 
showing that St. Thomas preached only in that part of 
India which lies to the west of the Indus and not in the 
south. The aim of the present essay is to show that there 
is no justification for confining St. Thomas's labours to 
the north, and ignoring the weight of the evidence in 
favour of the Apostle's connection with the south. 


A little before Dr. Medlycott published his book, an 
article appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 
for April 1905 on " St. Thomas and Grondophernes " by 
J. Fleet, I.C.S. (Retired), Ph.D., C.I.E. The writer here 
summed up the results of an investigation undertaken by 
Mr. W. R. Philipps in the Indian Antiquary (1903) from 
Western sources of information, and supplemented Mr. 
Philipps' work by an examination of an item obtained from 
Eastern sources by way of corroboration of the Western 
tradition. Dr. Burkitt considers that the best investiga- 
tion of the traditions connecting St. Thomas with India is 
that by W. R. Philipps in the Indian Antiquary, while 
Father Thurston refers to Dr. Fleet's article as " his severely 
critical paper." We cannot do better, therefore, than 
-begin with these authorities, and then turn to Dr. 
Medlycott and other sources as we proceed with the subject. 

In the meantime it must be observed that Dr. Philipps 
himself in drawing up the General Conclusions arrived at 
as a result of his researches, put them forward as tentative, 
as he hoped that Dr. Medlycott, who was then writing his 
volume, would afford us some fresh information, especially 
from recently explored syriac sources. How far Dr. Medlycott 
has succeeded in throwing further light on the matter will be 
seen from our present investigation. 

However, Dr. Fleet says that Mr. Philipps has given us 
an exposition of the Western traditional statements up to the 
sixth century A.D. and that one decidedly important fea- 
ture of his result is that they make it quite clear, even to 
those who have not specially studied the matter, that we 
are not in any way dependent upon apocryphal writings 
-or upon certain later works which he specifies, as the 


tradition goes back to much more ancient times and is 
based upon far better authority. And taking only some 
of the most ancient statements, Dr. Fleet finds that, in its 
earliest traceable form, the tradition runs thus : 

According to the Syriac work entitled, The Doctrine 
of the Apostles, which was written, he says, in perhaps the 
second century A.D., St. Thomas evangelised " India." 
St. Ephraem, the Syrian (born about A.D. 300, died about 
378), who spent most of his life at Edessa in Mesopotamia, 
states that the Apostle was martyred in " India," and that 
his relics were taken thence to Edessa. That St. Thomas 
evangelised the Parthians is stated by Origen (born A.D. 
185 or 186, died about 251254). Eusebius (Bishop of 
Csesarea Palsestinse from A.D. 315 to about 340) says the 
same. And the same statement is made by the " Clementine 
Recognitions," the original of which may have been written 
about A.D. 210. 

A fuller tradition, he says, is found in The Acts of St. 
Thomas, which exists in Syriac, Greek, Latin, Armenian, 
Ethiopian and Arabic, and in a fragmentary form in Coptic. 
And this work connects with St.Thomas two Eastern Kings, 
whose names appear in the Syriac version as Gudnaphar, 
Gundaphar, and Mazdai. The Syriac version of the Acts, 
he says, may be regarded as the original one, and as more 
likely than the others to present fragments of genuine history. 
It dates back, according to Dr. Wright to not later than the 
fourth century ; while Mr. Burkitt would place the compo- 
sition of it before the middle of the third century, and Lipsius 
would seem to have placed it in or about A.D. 232. Harnack, 
according to Fr. Thurston in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 
assigns to it even an earlier date, before A.D. 220. 


(See Explanation p. v.) 


The substance of the tradition as gathered from the 
Acts according to Dr. Fleet is as follows : 

On the occasion when the twelve Apostles divided the 
countries of the world among themselves by lot, e India' 
fell to St. Thomas. He did not wish to go there. But a 
merchant named Habban had been sent into " the southern 
country " by Gudnaphar, " King of India," to procure for 
him a skilful artificer. Our Lord appeared to Habban 
and sold St. Thomas to him for twenty pieces of silver. 
St. Thomas and Habban started next day. Travelling 
by ship they came to a place named Sandaruk. There they 
landed and attended the marriage feast of the King's daughter. 
Thence they proceeded into " India" and presented them- 
selves before King Gudnaphar. And there St. Thomas 
preached in the cities and villages, and converted the King 
himself and his brother and many other people. After 
that, while St.Thomas was preaching "throughout all India," 
he went to the city of King Mazdai. There, as the result 
of his converting Mazdai's wife Tertia and a noble lady 
named Mygdonia, he was condemned to death. He was 
slain with spears by four soldiers on a mountain outside the 
city. And he was buried in the sepulchre in which the 
ancient kings were buried. But subsequently, while King 
Mazdai was still living, the bones of the Apostle were secretly 
removed by one of the brethren and were taken away to 
" the West." 

The Greek, Latin, and other versions give sundry 
additional details, besides presenting variants of the names 
of the persons and places. However, the important point 
is, as Dr. Fleet remarks, that a Christian tradition, current 
in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, and all those parts 


as far as Italy, and connecting St. Thomas with Parthia 
and " India" and with two " Indian" Kings whom it speci- 
fically names, is traceable back to, at any rate, the third 
or fourth century of the Christian era, and perhaps to the 
second quarter of the third century. But as the Christian 
tradition taken in its details and in its external bearings 
would seem to require corroboration of some kind or other 
from external sources, the required corroboration has been 
found in coins which from 1834 onwards have been obtained 
from Beghram in the vicinity of Kabul, from Pathankot 
in the Gurdaspur district of the Punjab on the north-east 
of Amritsar, from Kandahar, and from various places in 
Sindh and Seistan, bearing the name of one of the Kings, 
Gondopheres, mentioned in the tradition. But again as 
these coins are not dated and there was further wanted 
an epigraphic record which should present a date in some 
era, capable of being recognized as a date of Gondopheres, 
and adaptable to the tradition, it has happened that the 
desideratum was at length supplied by the discovery, in 
or about 1857, of what is known as the Takht-i-Bahi inscrip- 
tion, which is now in the Lahore Museum. 

We need not pursue the investigation undertaken by 
Dr. Fleet in connection with the coins and the inscription. 
It is sufficient to note that the result, placing the commence- 
ment of the reign of Guduphara-Gondophernes in A.D. 20 
or 21, and establishing the fact that in A.D. 46 his domi- 
nions included, in India itself, at any rate the territory 
round about Peshawar, is. as remarked by Dr. Fleet, reached 
from the Takht-i-Bahi inscription and the coins, without 
any help from the Christian tradition ; while as regards the 
tradition itself, it gives us, in just the period for the death of 
St. Thomas, a King, Guduphara-Gondophernes, whose name 



can be satisfactorily identified with that of the Gudnaphar, 
Gundaphar, Goundapharos, and Gundaf orus of the tradition, 
and who would be quite properly mentioned as a King of 
India or of the Indians, so that Dr. Fleet naturally con- 
cludes that the evidence so far is at least strongly suggestive 
of the fact " that there is an actual basis for the tradition 
in historical reality, and that St. Thomas did proceed 
to the East, and visited the courts of two kings reigning 
there, of whom one was the Guduphara-Gondophernes of the 
Takht-i-Bahi inscription and the coins," who, judging from 
the wide range of the localities from which the coins were 
obtained, was evidently the powerful ruler " of an extensive 
territory, which included, as a part of it, much more of 
India than simply a portion of the Peshawar district." 


Up to this point the best authorities are agreed. It 
is when they come to locate the territory over which the 
second King, Mazdai, reigned, the King mentioned in the 
Acts of St. Thomas as the one in whose dominions he brought 
his apostolic labours to a close by receiving the martyr's 
crown, that some of them have been led astray. Dr. Fleet 
thinks that the suggestion made by M. Sylvain Levi to take 
the name Mazdai as a transformation of a Hindu name, 
made on Iranian soil and under Mazdean influences, and 
arrived at through the forms Bazadeo, Bazdeo, or Bazodeo, 
Bazdeo, which occur in Greek legends on coins, and to 
identify the person with King Vasudeva of Mathura, a 
successor of Kanishka, is not unreasonable ; and he 
accordingly ends his paper by remarking that the other king 
whom the Apostle visited was very possibly Vasudeva 
of Mathura. 

Now, much depends on the acceptance of this theory 
of M. Levi ; for it follows then that if St. Thomas was put 
to death in the Kingdom of Mathura in the north, he could 
not have been martyred at St. Thomas' Mount in the south. 
It is no surprise, therefore, to find Dr. Fleet making the 
statement that there is no evidence at all that the place 
where St. Thomas was martyred was anywhere in Southern 
India. But Dr. Fleet admits that the question of identi- 
fying Mazdai with King Vasudeva of Mathura is not a matter 
of the same certainty as in the case of King Gondophernes, 
and that it is possible that some other conclusion might 
be formed in respect of the name Mazdai, either by means 
of Persian history or legend or in any other way. In fact 
Dr. Medlycott puts forward a more reasonable suggestion 



and we shall presently refer to it, after showing that the 
theory of M. Levi cannot well be maintained. 

Father Thurston in the Catholic Encyclopedia follow- 
ing in the wake of Dr. Fleet, whose article in the Journal 
of the Royal Asiatic Society, he refers to, as we said, as a 
" severely critical paper/' also accepted the suggestion 
of M. Levi, and hence also he naturally finds it " difficult 
to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted 
belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys 
as far south as Mylapore not far from Madras, and there 
suffered martyrdom." Apart from the main point, 
there is a little confusion here in Fr. Thurston's mind. 
Mylapore is included in Madras. The tradition is that 
the Apostle was martyred at St. Thomas' Mount near Madras, 
that is, as the Acts say, ' on a mountain outside the city,' 
and was buried in Mylapore on the sea coast, that particular 
spot or village being called San Thome after the Apostle. 

When Dr. Fleet, in his article in the Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, for April 1905, accepted M. Levi's sugges- 
tion to identify King Mazdai with King Vasudeva of Mathura 
in the north, Dr. Fleet, according to his own calculation, 
allotted B.C. 58 as the commencement of Kanishka's reign, 
so that Vasudeva who was one of his successors was appa- 
rently contemporary with Gondophares ; but Dr. Fleet 
writing subsequently in 1910 in the Encyclopedia Britannica 
(see Inscriptions, Indian), while adhering to B.C. 58 as the 
year when Kanishka began to reign, says that he was 
succeeded by Vasishka, Huvishka and Vasudeva and that 
then the dynasty of Kanishka was succeeded by a foreign 
ruler, Gondophares, who, he adds, is well known to Christian 
tradition in connection with the mission of St. Thomas, 


the Apostle, to the East. Thus, according to Dr. Fleet 
himself, Vasudeva could not have been the King who put 
the Apostle to death if the latter was alive during the reign 
of Gondophares, who, as he says, succeeded Vasudeva. 
Dr. Fleet apparently could no longer support the theory 
to identify King Magdai with Vasudeva when he wrote 
in 1910, as he does not say anything in that article as to 
whether Vesudeva was in any way connected with St.. 

Again, Mr. Vincent Smith, in the third edition of his 
Early History of India published in 1914, not only ques- 
tioned the correctness of Dr. Fleet's chronology and showed 
that the relegation of Kanishka to B.C. 58 was wholly out 
of the question, but placed in that volume the accession 
to the throne of that monarch in about 78 A.D., remarking 
that it was possible that the true date might be even 
later. In his more recent work, The Oxford History of 
India, 1919, he says, " further consideration of the evidence 
from Taxila now available leads me to follow Sir John 
Marshall and Professor Sten Konow in dating the beginning 
of Kanishka's reign approximately in A.D. 120, a date which 
I had advocated many years ago on different grounds/' 
From this history it appears that Kanishka reigned about 
forty-two years. Vasishka, mentioned before as Kanishka's 
immediate successor according to Dr. Fleet, was, Mr. Vincent 
Smith says, one of his sons and Viceroy, who predeceased 
the father, who was therefore, really succeeded by Huvishka 
in A.D. 162, who in turn was succeeded by Vasudeva in 
A.D. 182, so that according to Mr. Vincent Smith, Vasudeva 
came too late to be the second king whom the Apostle is 
said to have visited and by whose orders he was put to death. 
In either case the suggestion to identify King Mazdai with 


Vasudeva of Mathura falls to the ground ; and with it the 
inference based on this theory that St. Thomas was mar- 
tyred by a king who reigned in the north, and that therefore 
his martyrdom could not have taken place at St. Thomas' 
Mount in the south. 

As we stated before, Dr. Fleet admitted that the ques- 
tion of identifying Mazdai with King Vasudeva of Mathura 
in the north was not a matter of the same certainty as in the 
case of King Gondophares. and that it is possible that 
some other conclusion might be formed in respect of the name 
Mazdai, either by means of Persian history or legend or in 
any other way ; and we remarked then, that Dr. Medlycott 
had in fact put forward a more reasonable suggestion. Having 
now conclusively shown that the Mazdai -Vasudeva theory 
is altogether untenable, we shall proceed to examine Dr. 
Medlycott's suggestion. 

Although the point we have investigated did not occur 
to Dr. Medlycott as he wrote his book in 1905, he discusses 
the suggestion made by M. Levi on other grounds and shows- 
how far-fetched the idea is to attempt to identify Mazdai 
with Vasudeva, while as suggested by him there can be 
nothing unreasonable in identifying the name of the King 
who was responsible for the martyrdom of St. Thomas 
with Mahadeva. He points out that not only in the north, 
but also in the south, Indian Kings were in the habit of 
incorporating the epithet of the divinity with their own 
names, and instances the fact of one of the rulers of the 
Warangal dynasty bearing the name of Mahadeva. We 
may add that a glance at Sewell's Dynasties of Southern India 
shows how common it was for the Kings of the South Indian 
dynasties to not only affix but also prefix the term Deva 
to their names, and that the name Mahadeva itself occurs- 


also among the rulers of other dynasties of Southern India, 
such as Orissa, Vijayanagar and the Yadavas of Devagiri. 
It is by no means unreasonable, therefore, to conclude that 
the name of the King who had St. Thomas martyred was 
very probably Mahadeva, which would be popularly con- 
tracted into Mahdeo. " Now," remarks Dr. Medlycott, 
* l if the name Mahadeo be passed through Iranian mouths, 
it will probably assume the form of ' Masdeo,' owing to the 
similarity of sound with the Iranian name Mazdai, the 
sibilant would be introduced, and the outcome of Mahadeo 
or Madeo would be Masdeo, and would appear in Syriac 
.as Mazdai." 

Mr. Vincent Smith, again, when he wrote the second 
edition of his Early History of India in 1908, was absolutely 
opposed to the tradition connecting St. Thomas with the 
Southern India, as a result probably of relying mainly on 
W. K. Philipps and Milne- Rae ; but he considerably modi- 
fied his views when he published the third edition of his history 
in 1914. and justified the change in his attitude towards it 
in an appendix embodied in this edition (p. 245). While admit- 
ting (p. 234) that " the traditional association of the name 
of the Apostle with that of King Gondophares is in no way 
at variance with the generally received chronology of the reign 
.of the latter as deduced from coins and an inscription," he 
points out that, on the other hand, " there is no trace of the 
subsequent existence of a Christian community in the domi- 
nions which had been ruled by Gondaphares." He allows, 
however, that "unless a Christian mission connected by tradi- 
tion, with the rite of St. Thomas had visited the Indo-Parthian 
borderland it is difficult to imagine how the obscure name of 
Gondophares can have come into the story". Accordingly 
he thinks that " if anybody chooses to believe that St. 


Thomas personally visited the Indo-Partliian Kingdom, 
his belief cannot be considered unreasonable", as " it is pos- 
sible that as Dr. Medlycott suggests, he may have first visited 
Gondophares and then travelled to Southern India." In 
any case he does not accept the story of the Apostle's martyr- 
dom in the north, for he says, " if there be any truth in 
the tradition that the Apostle was martyred at St. Thomas' 
Mount near Madras, he cannot possibly have suffered 
in the Kingdom of Mazdai," taking it for granted that King 
Mazdai reigned in the north ; and he refers here in a foot- 
note, to Father Joseph Dahlmann, S.J., who, he says, " has 
devoted an ingenious treatise, entitled Die Thomas Legende 
und die altesten historisehen Beziehungen des Christentums 
zum fernen Osten im Lichte der indischen Alter tumskunde 
(Freiburg im Breisgau, 1912), to an attempt to establish the 
historical credibility of the Gondophare's story "; adding, " I 
have read his work carefully without being convinced." 
We have not read Father Dahlmann's treatise ourselves ; 
but he apparently also accepted the theory that King 
Mazdai, who put the Apostle to death, was a king who 
reigned in the north, based evidently on M. Levi's sugges- 
tion that Mazdai was possibly Vasudeva of Mathura in the 
north. It is surprising that it did not occur to Mr. Vincent 
Smith, while declining to accept the story of the Apostle's 
martyrdom in the north, to question the theory identifying 
King Mazdai of the Acts with Vasudeva of the north, 
seeing that his own chronology of the reign of the latter 
was at variance with the time of the Apostle, and made 
it impossible for him bo accept such a suggestion. Had 
he noticed this discrepancy, he would probably have been 
still more emphatic and whole-hearted in his support of the 
tradition connecting the martyrdom of St. Thomas with 


Southern India, than we find he is in the following admis- 
sions contained in his latest works : 

' It must be admitted that a personal visit of the 
Apostle to Southern India was easily feasible in the conditions 
of the time, and that there is nothing incredible in the tradi- 
tional belief that he came by way of Socotra, where an ancient 
Christian settlement undoubtedly existed. The actual fact 
of such personal visit cannot be either proved or disproved. 
I am now satisfied that the Christian Church of Southern 
India is extreme!}^ ancient, whether it was founded by St. 
Thomas in person or not, and that its existence may be 
traced back to the third century with a high degree of pro- 
bability. Mr. Milne-Rae carried his scepticism too far 
when he attributed the establishment of the Christian 
congregations to missionaries from the banks of the Tigris 
in the fifth or sixth century." (Early History of India, 
1914, p. 235.) 

" My personal impression, formed after much examina- 
tion of the evidence, is that the story of the martyrdom 
in Southern India is the better supported of the two 
versions of the saint's death." (Oxford History of India, 
1919, p. 126). 

The bias that has led some of our authorities to confine 
St. Thomas's labours to the north can further be seen from 
some absurd and unwarranted inferences drawn by them. 
Mr. Philipps, for instance, would seem to limit the tracts 
visited by St. Thomas to the Parthian Empire and to " an 
6 India' which included the Indus Valley, but nothing to the 
east or south of it"; and having assumed that the Apostle's 
tomb must be looked for in Southern Persia, he was driven 


to the necessity of offering the obviously absurd explanation 
of the words occurring in the Acts of St. Thomas, where he 
is said to have preached " throughout all India," that " this 
might imply a number of years" ; that is, words clearly 
indicating place and extent might, it would seem, mean time 
or period. Dr. Fleet too, as we have said, apparently under 
the influence of the Mazdai-Vasudeva theory, is disposed to 
confine St. Thomas's labours to the north. He premises 
his investigation by stating that, " whereas the Christian 
tradition represents St. Thomas the Apostle as the mission- 
ary to India and Parthia, by the term ' India ' we are not 
necessarily to understand simply the country which we now 
call India. As used by ancient writers, the term denoted 
the whole of the south-eastern part of Asia, on the south 
of the Himalaya Mountains, and on the east of a line 
running from about the centre of the Hindu Kush down 
along or close on the west of the Sulaiman Range to strike 
the coast of the Arabian Sea on the west of the mouths of 
the Indus. It thus included our India, with Burma, Siam, 
Cochin China, the Malay Peninsula, and the islands of the 
Indian Archipelago, and with also that portion of Afgha- 
nistan which lies between Kabul and Peshawar." And yet, 
in spite of the evidence before him, he adds : " And the 
* India' which is mentioned in the fuller tradition may 
easily have been a territory of which the principal 
components lay in Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and 
which embraced in our India only the Punjab strictly so 
called and the western parts of Sindh. " We noted before 
that, for the same reason, it was not surprising to find 
Dr. Fleet making the statement that " there is no evidence 
at all that the place where St. Thomas was martyred was 
-anywhere in Southern India." He further asserts that 


*' any statement to that effect cannot be traced back be- 
yond the middle ages ; and all the real indications point 
in quite another direction." 

Now, if we turn to the following quotation, which 
Mr. Philipps gives, from the Doctrine of the Apostles, 
we shall see that it more than confirms the statement 
made in the Acts of St. Tliomas that he preached " through- 
out all India," taken in its plain and obvious sense, so 
that Southern India cannot w^ell be excluded from the 
range of the Apostle's field of labour. The quotation 
runs as follows : 

" And after the death of the Apostles there were 
Guides and Rulers in the churches, and whatever the 
Apostles communicated to them, and they had received 
from them, they taught to the multitudes all the time of 
their lives. They again at their deaths also committed 
and delivered to their disciples after them everything 
which they had received from the Apostles, also what 
James had written from Jerusalem, and Simon from the 
city of Eome, and John from Ephesus, and Mark from 
the great Alexandria, and Andrew fromPhrygia, and Luke 
from Macedonia, and Judas Thomas from India ; that the 
epistles of an Apostle might be received and read in the 
churches, in every place, like those Triumphs of their Acts, 
which Luke wrote, are read, that by this the Apostles 
might be known . . . ' 

" India and all its countries, and those bordering on 
it, even to the farthest sea, received the Apostles' Hand 
of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and 
Ruler in the church which he built there and ministered 


In the first portion of this extract it will be observed 
that the name of the Apostle Thomas is connected with 
India in the same way as Simon (St. Peter) is connected 
with Rome, and each of the others with the respective 
places named. 

Referring to the original translation by Cureton of 
the Ancient Syriac Documents edited and published by 
Wright of the British Museum in 1864, from which this 
quotation is taken, we find that the second portion is one 
among other similar statements made in connection with 
other Apostles, where the several countries evange- 
lized by each of them are enumerated in addition to the 
places specially associated with their names in the first 
portion of the foregoing extract. The whole account 
shows the wide range of the field of labour in each case, 
some of them even overlapping. This being so, it is diffi- 
cult to imagine how any one can limit the range of St. 
Thomas's preaching to Northern India, and go to the 
length of explaining away the words referred to from the 
Acts of St. Thomas as Mr. Philipps has done. 

At the same time, it is apparent that Mr. Philipps 
felt himself the importance of the evidence we have in 
the Doctrine of the Apostles, as he says, it " would be more 
important if we could fix its date." While admitting 
that, " from expressions used in it, it is thought to be of 
the second century ", he adds, but Lipsius says ( towards 
the end of the 4th century, which would bring it to the 
time of St. Ephraem." Accordingly, he remarks, " apart 
from this Syriac Doctrine of the Apostles " (and we should 
add, apart also from the Acts of St. Thomas, which Burkitt 
and Harnack place in the beginning of the third century) 


" there does not seem to be any mention of ( India ' in 
connection with St. Thomas till we get to St. Ephraem 
(378) and St. Gregory of Nanzienzan (389) " ; and he 
argues that the early evidence then is that St. Thomas 
evangelized Parthia. 

Referring again to Dr. Wright's edition of the 
Ancient Syriac Documents and Cureton's Translation, we 
find from a note on pages 171-172 against the words, After 
the death of the Apostles there were Guides and Rulers in the 
Church, that " it would appear from this passage that this 
treatise must have been written anterior to the time when 
the title of Bishop, as especially appropriated to those who 
succeeded to the apostolic office, had generally obtained 
in the East." Turning then to the note on page 161 
against the words, Guide and Ruler, we find it stated that 
"it is plain from the context here, as well as wherever it 
occurs in these early Syriac documents, that this title is 
precisely the same as that of Bishop, although the Greek 
word for it had not obtained in the East. The first men- 
tion that we find of the title Bishop is in the Acts of 
Sharbil, page 65, about A.D. 105-112. where Barsamya is 
called the Bishop of the Christians, although more gener- 
ally designated as here." From this, then, it appears 
that Dr. Cureton would date the document at least early 
in the second century. Dr. Medlycott, by some inad- 
vertence much to his disadvantage, while dealing with 
the date of the Doctrine of the Apostles, quotes the wrong 
note (page 147) from the same volume of the Ancient 
Syriac Documents, which refers to the Doctrine of 
Adddeus the Apostle, as having been written notlater than 
the beginning of the fifth century. And so he argues on 
clifferent data that the Doctrine of the Apostles must be of 


much earlier date. However, Mr. Philipps apparently saw 
himself that the Doctrine of the Apostles must be of very 
ancient date ; for, after dealing with the Acts of St. Thomas, 
he goes on to refer to the other writers of the early 
centuries, and he enumerates them placing the author of 
the former Syriac work first on the list, adding the 
words " perhaps 2nd century " ; and he quotes from this 
document first. Dr. Fleet also evidently saw no reason to 
dispute this date. 

Here, then, we have the authors of the Doctrine of the 
Apostles and of the Acts of St. Thomas, belonging to the 
second and third centuries, respectively, not only attest- 
ing to St. Thomas's connection with India, but also to 
the fact that he preached throughout the country and 
established himself there, by making himself Guide and 
Euler of the church which he built there and ministered 
there ; and if the writer of The Clementine Recognitions 
and Origen, both of the third century, state that St. Thomas 
evangelized Parthia, the testimony of the latter, as 
Mr. Philipps himself says, corning " through the medium of 
Eusebius," whom he quotes and who belongs to a later 
century, surely there is nothing here to justify 
Mr. Philipps' conclusion that St. Thomas was really " the 
Apostle of the Parthian Empire," and " in some limited 
sense," the Apostle of India, that is, " probably of an 'India' 
which included the Indus valley, but nothing to the east 
or south of it." On the contrary, the whole evidence 
distinctly supports the tradition that St. Thomas, after 
preaching the Gospel in Parthia and other countries, 
and leaving, as we might expect, Guides and Kulers, 
as they were then called, to continue his mission in those 
countries, finally betook himself to India, where, as the 


Doctrine of the Apostles says, " he was Guide and Ruler 
in the Church which he built there and ministered there," 
preaching throughout the country and in those bordering 
on it even to the farthest seas. 

In the face of such evidence how indeed can we exclude 
Southern India from the scope of St. Thomas's labours and 
confine him to the north as these authorities have been 
disposed to do ? And what further evidence do we want to 
establish the very possible connection of St. Thomas with 
Southern India, when according to Dr.Fleet himself the term 
" India " as used by ancient writers included so wide a tract 
as he has described ? 

However, as if to lend support to the evidence just 
referred to for the South-Indian apostolate of St. Thomas, 
we find it related in the Acts that the General, who heard 
of St. Thomas preaching " throughout all India," came to 
him in a cart drawn " by cattle" ; and Dr. Medlycott points 
out how travelling in a bullock-cart is characteristic of South- 
ern India, whereas if the incident occurred in the north, 
the horse would have been introduced on the scene and the 
General would have been mounted on a steed. Gondophares, 
for instance, is figured on his coins riding a horse, not seated 
in a cart drawn by oxen. Further, the fact of Mygdonia 
using the palki or palanquin when going to see the Apostle 
is also specially peculiar to Southern India. Other incidents 
which strengthen the local colouring given besides those 
mentioned are also noticed by Dr. Medlycott. The inci- 
dents which do not appear to be peculiar to Southern India 
mentioned by Mr. Philipps are relatively unimportant. In 
lact Mr. Philipps himself says : "we cannot lay any 
particular stress upon them in any direction." The objection 
raised by some critics that certain ' customs' described 


in the Acts of St. Thomas can be shown to be also Biblical 
and Hebrew, is not to the point , as the comparison made 
is between the customs peculiar to Southern India and those 
that prevail in the north. 

Further corroborative evidence of a very important 
nature we find in the testimony of St. Ephraem, A.D. 300 
to 378, whose hymns embody the local traditions extant 
at the time in Edessa. That there was such a tradition then 
connecting St. Thomas with India, whence his relics were 
brought to Edessa is not disputed. The actual place of 
his martyrdom and burial in India is not mentioned by St. 
Ephraem ; but in one of his hymns written in praise of St. 
Thomas, he says : " A land of people dark fell to thy lot 
that these in white robes thou shouldst clothe and cleanse 
by baptism" ; and in another stanza, " the sunburnt thou 
hast made fair." At the same time he blesses the merchant 
who brought so great a treasure as the relics to Edessa, 
which city in turn he blesses for acquiring and being worthy 
of possessing this priceless gem, the greatest pearl India 
could yield. Now, if St. Ephraem believed the relics came 
from Afghanistan or the north-west corner of India included 
in the Apostle's time in Gondophares's Kingdom, how could 
he describe their people as dark or sunburnt, seeing that 
those regions are more or less in the same latitude as 
Edessa. The inference, therefore, obviously is that the 
tradition current in St. Ephraem's time was, that 
St. Thomas preached mainly in Southern India and was 
martvred and buried there. 


We may now follow the general outline of Dr. Medlycott's 
work ; but may note in passing that, of the different forms 
of the name of the Indian King found in the Acts of St. 
Thomas, the coins and the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, Mr. 
Fleet uses the form ' Gondophernes' generally, and cites 
other forms only when literal quotation is necessary, while 
Dr. Medlycott prefers to use the form ' Gondophares.' In 
any case it is not of much moment which form is used. 

The Acts of St. Thomas, already referred to, Dr. Medly- 
cott points out, form part of a class of writings known as the 
" Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles." These writings have 
of late claimed the attention of several scholars both in 
England and in Germany. Although the Acts have come 
down to us with interpolations intended to support the 
gnostic heresies which prevailed in the early days of Chris- 
tianity, the discoveries made in recent years have made it 
possible to test the statements contained in them in the 
light of actual history. Thus Dr. Medlycott found the 
ground for a critical handling of the Acts of St. Thomas 
already prepared for him ; and an elaborate appendix to his 
book has been devoted to a ( critical analysis' of these 
Acts, the author's purpose being to show that the principal 
events narrated in them are based upon historical reality. 
We have already given Dr. Fleet's version of the tradition 
as gathered from the Acts. 

Dr. Medlycott begins his work by a thorough investi- 
gation of the evidence furnished by the coins and the in- 
scription we have referred to as confirming the first portion 
of the tradition recited in the Acts connecting the Apostle 
with King Gondophares. He then proceeds to a close 



examination of all the available records supplied by the 
East and West. To collect and bring these together natur- 
ally involved long and patient research. The testimonies 
of St. Ephraem and other Syrian writers, of the Liturgical 
books and Calendars of the Syrian Church, of the Fathers 
of the Western Church, of the Calendars, Sacramentaries 
and Martyrologies of the same Church, and the witness 
of the Greek and Abyssinian Churches are all laid under 
contribution and fully discussed. The evidence, much 
of which is additional to that cited by Mr. Philipps and 
Dr. Fleet, all go to confirm the truth of the tradition that 
St. Thomas did suffer martyrdom in India, that is India as 
we know it now. It follows then, as remarked by Dr. 
Medlycott, that his tomb, if at all, ought to be found in 
India. A long chain of witnesses extending from the sixth 
century to the landing of the Portuguese on the shores of 
India is accordingly produced, attesting to the constant 
tradition of the Church that the tomb was really at Mylapore. 
And yet the fact that the tomb of St. Thomas must naturally 
be found within the limits of India proper, which in itself, 
as Dr. Medlycott remarks, is an historical aphorism, has met 
with the strongest opposition ever since the Portuguese 
announced the discovery of his tomb at Mylapore. This 
opposition, the learned author adds, came first and chiefly 
from quarters which must cause an impartial historian, 
who patiently investigates the whole history of the case, 
to consider the same as being rather the outcome of odiwm 
theologicum, than the result of insufficient historical evidence. 
A plausible excuse for the general feeling of scepticism 
created by these writers was, in part, Dr. Medlycott thinks, 
offered by the want of previous historical knowledge shown 
by the Portuguese authorities and writers in India who 


claimed to have discovered the body, or the entire remains of 
the Apostle, coupled with other uncritical details ; and once 
the opposite view arising at first from the doubt regarding 
the tomb, was taken up and ruthlessly exploited, it was 
extended to the preaching of the Gospel by the Apostle 
within the geographical limits of India itself and a widely 
extending prejudice was formed. It is only in more recent 
times, when men, indifferent to that odium, or guided by 
their familiarity with, or their long researches in India, 
approached the subject, that they came gradually, says 
Dr. Medlycott, to admit the Apostle's mission to India, and to 
consider the strong historical claim of Mylapore to be the 
possible site of his martyrdom and burial as not unfounded. 

Dr. W. J. Richards, who for thirty-five years was a 
C.M.S. Missionary in Travancore and Cochin, and who has 
collected fresh evidence in support of the tradition, in his 
book The Indian Christians of St, Thomas (London 1908), 
endorses this view, and writes : " Dr. Medlycott says, 
with a certain amount of truth that it is the odium theologicum 
which has made many writers so ready to doubt the Church 
traditions assigning Southern India as the mission-field of 
the Apostle Thomas, and to contradict also the beliefs of the 
Syrian Christians of Malabar that they themselves are the 
descendants of the first converts there." 

Accordingly after setting forth the available evidence 
for the Indian Apostolate, Dr. Medlycott brings forward 
such evidence as upholds for Mylapore the claim to the tomb. 
St. Gregory, Bishop of Tours, in his " In gloria Marty rum" 
a work which he revised in 590, shortly before his death, 
recording the testimony of one Theodore who visited the 
tomb in India, writes : " Thomas the Apostle, according 
to the narrative of his martvrdom, is stated to have suffered 


in India. His holy remains (corpus), after a long interval 
of time, were removed to the city of Edessa in Syria and 
there interred. In that part of India where they first 
rested stand a monastery and a church of striking dimen- 
sions, elaborately adorned and designed. This, Theodore, who 
had been to the place, narrated to us." Dr. Medlycott 
points out that the evidence here clearly implies the exist- 
ence of a narrative or acts of the martyrdom of the Apostle 
which declares that he suffered martyrdom in India, the 
existence of the first tomb of the Apostle, a church of large 
dimensions covering the Indian tomb, a monastery adjacent, 
the monks of which no doubt conducted the services at 
the shrine, the further knowledge that after the remains 
of the Apostle had remained buried in India for a time 
they were thence removed to Edessa, and finally that they 
were buried anew at Edessa. As Dr. Medlycott remarks, 
these facts embrace all and even more than is necessary 
to establish the fact of the early knowledge of the existence 
of the Indian tomb of the Apostle, while they are confirmed 
by later evidences. 

The record of the next visit to the tomb in India is found 
in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, where King Alfred is reported 
to have sent in 883 an embassy to Rome and also to St. 
Thomas in India, in fulfilment of a vow made at the time he 
was besieged by the heathen Danes. Eminent modern 
writers of English history are quoted as recording the in- 
cident as an ascertained fact of history and not as legend. 
It is further supported by the early chroniclers, whose works 
have come down to us. Marco Polo and Friar John of 
Monte Corvino appear to have both visited the tomb about 
the same time in 1292 or 1293 and their testimonies are 
brought forward. Although the name of the town is not 


mentioned by the witnesses referred to, there seems no 
reason to doubt that the little town, where the body lay, 
was Mylapore, which alone, in all India, has all along claimed 
to possess the original tomb of the Apostle. 

The further witnesses brought forward are the Blessed 
Oderic of Pordenone (1324-1325), Bishop John de Marig- 
nolli (1349), Nicolo de Conti (1425-1430), Amr', son of 
Mathew, a Nestorian writer (1340) and certain Nestorian 
bishops, who writing in (1504) to the Catholicus of the East, 
speak of " the houses of St. Thomas in a city on the sea 
named Meliapur." This brings the record of the Indian 
Shrine of the Apostle down to the arrival of the 
Portuguese in India, and shows that the tradition was by 
no means invented by them ; that it was not only locally 
believed in, but that it was known and testified to from 
the sixth century onwards by travellers from the West. 

Dr. Medlycott then goes into further historical and 
traditional evidence regarding the Apostle, attesting to the 
fact that his remains were at a very early period removed 
from India to Edessa ; that during the life-time of St. 
Ephraem there existed a church at that place named after the 
Apostle, holding the relics, of which St. Ephraem speaks in 
the hymns quoted in an earlier chapter by Dr. Medlycott ; 
that some years later another and a larger church in the 
same city was completed in honour of the Apostle de- 
scribed as the c Great Church,' or the ' Basilica'; and that to 
this church the relics were removed with great pomp and 
ceremony. Dr. Medlycott shows how some writers have 
confused the second removal of the relics with the first, 
also the new church with the older one, and in consequence 
have made out that the translation of the relics from India 




took place at a later date ; whereas the second church was 
completed after St. Ephraem's death which occurred in June 
373, and the second removal of the relics took place in the 
year 394. The evidence adduced goes further to show that 
the relics of St. Thomas remained at Edessa until the city was 
sacked and destroyed by the rising Moslem power, and that 
some of the surviving Christian inhabitants recovered the 
relics of the Apostle from the ruins of the church and 
transferred them for safety to an island off the coast 
of Asia Minor that of Chios in the ^Egean Sea. The 
stone, which covered the remains there and bore the name 
of the Apostle and bust engraved and is now in the 
Cathedral of Ortona, attests to the genuineness of the relics. 
From Chios the relics were removed to Ortona in 1258. 
While at Ortona, the relics underwent another vicissitude. 
The Turks sacked the town in 1566 and burnt and destroyed 
the churches, including that of the Apostle, whose shrine 
was exploded by gunpowder. Although the stone forming 
the altar slab was burst and that of chalcedony brought 
from Chios was fractured by the explosion, the sacred bones 
of the Apostle with the relics of other saints were most 
providentially preserved intact. The head of the Apostle, 
which was first missed, was found upon further search 
crushed under the weight of a portion of the fractured altar 
stone. It was reverently picked up and the skull was 
reconstructed so thoroughly that no part was found missing. 
The sacred relics now repose in a bronze urn placed beneath 
a marble altar, and the head of the Apostle is placed in a 
silver bust and is exposed to public veneration on the 
celebration of the feast. The slab of chalcedony marble, 
which was brought over from Chios and was fractured by 
the Turks is also preserved in the Church. 


In an earlier paragraph we noted that Mr. Vincent 
Smith, while admitting that his " personal experience, 
formed after much examination of the evidence, is that the 
story of the martyrdom in Southern India is the better 
supported of the two versions of the saint's death," adds that 
it is by no means certain that St. Thomas was martyred 
at all, since an earlier writer, Heracleon. the gnostic, asserts 
that he ended his days in peace. Heracleon, who wrote in 
the second century, probably about 170 to 180, belonged 
to Sicily or Italy. St. Clement of Alexandria in his Stromat, 
commenting on the text of Luke, xii. 11, 12, {l And when they 
shall bring you into the synagogues, and to magistrates 
and powers, be not solicitous how or what you shall answer, 
or what you shall say ; for the Holy Ghost shall teach you 
in the same hour what you must say," says that Heracleon, 
the most distinguished of the school of Valentinus, writes, 
" that there is a confession by faith and conduct, and one with 
the voice. The confession that is made by the voice and 
before the authorities, is what the most reckon the holy 
confession. Not soundly : and hypocrites also can confess 
with this confession. But neither will this utterance 
be found to be spoken universally ; for all the saved have 
(not ?) confessed with the confession made with the voice 
and departed. Of whom are Matthew, Philip, Thomas, 
Levi and many others. And confession with the lips is not 
universal, but partial." Mr. Philipps quotes this passage, 
omitting the bracketted word mot in the sentence, " for all 
the saved have not confessed with the voice and departed "; 
and hence he naturally says it is not particularly intelligible. 
It is taken from The Writings of Clement of Alexandria 
translated by the Rev. William Wilson, Edinburgh, 


1869, Vol. 2, pp. 170 to 171. But Mr. Philipps also remarks 
that the sense of the passage from Clement of Alexandria is 
perhaps better given, than by Wilson, in an article on 
Heracleon by G. Salmon in the Dictionary of Christian Bio- 
graphy, etc., Vol. 2, London, 1880, as follows : 

" Men mistake in thinking that the holy confession is 
that made by the voice before the magistrates ; there is 
another confession made in the life and conversation, by 
faith and works corresponding to the faith. The first con- 
fession may be made by a hypocrite, and it is one not required 
of all ; there are many who have never been called on to 
make it, as, for instance, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi 
(Lebbaeus) ; the other confession must be made by all." 

From this it is evident that the omission of the word, 
*' not," in the translation or even in the original, which we 
have no means of checking, must be a slip of the pen, as the 
sentence with that word is quite intelligible. Mr. Philipps 
says that Lipsius attaches importance to it, but that it is not 
necessary to adopt Lipsius's ideas, and that his theories were 
impossible. Dr. Medlycott, referring to Dr. Murdock's com- 
ment that Clement allows the statement to pass unchallen- 
ged, and that he takes this as a proof that he had nothing 
to allege against it, remarks that Heracleon denies the 
martyrdom not of one but of several of the twelve 
Apostles ; and that it is not a little surprising that 
in the light of present day ecclesiastical literature, 
writers are found to appeal to such an authority in 
opposition to the common belief of Christendom. Besides, 
as Mr. J. Kennedy in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society for October 1906 admits, neither the Western nor 
the Alexandrian Church was likely to know much of events 


which, had occurred outside the limits of the Roman Empire 
about the end of the second century. On the other hand 
the fact of the martyrdom of the Apostle is testified to by 
the Ads of St. Thomas, part at least of which is contemporary 
with or earlier than Heracleon, and by St. Ephraem (378), 
St. Ambrose (397), St. Asterius (400), St. Gaudentius (410), 
St. Gregory of Tours (594), and by later authorities, liturgi- 
cal books and martyrologies, showing that this has been 
the constant tradition of the Church. 






The different versions of the martyrdom of the Apostle 
are also set forth and examined by Dr. Medlycott. The 
narrative, according to the Syriac version of the Acts of St. 
Thomas, is that the King (Mazdai) ordered Thomas to be 
brought up for judgment, and questioned him as to whence 
he came and who was his master. The King hesitated 
what sentence he would pass, or rather how he should com- 
pass his death without causing popular excitement, " be- 
cause he was afraid of the great multitude that was there, 
for many believed in our Lord and even some of the nobles.'' 
So Mazdai took him out of town to a distance of about 
half a mile and delivered him to the guard under a prince with 
the order, " Go up on this mountain and stab him." On 
arriving at the spot the Apostle asked to be allowed to pray, 
and this was granted at the request of Vizam, the King's 
son, one of the two last converts. Arising from his prayer, 
Thomas bid the soldiers approach and said, " Fulfil the will 
of him who sent you." " And the soldiers came and struck 
him all together, and he fell down and died." The Greek 
version and the Latin De Miraculis generally agree with 
the Syriac text, but the Latin Passio has a different account. 
In this version the death of the Apostle occurs at a much 
earlier period, and was occasioned by the king forcing 
the Apostle to adore the idol in the temple. When at the 
Apostle's prayer and bidding the idol was destroyed, the. 
priest of the temple, raising a sword transfixed the Apostle, 
saying, ' I will avenge the insult to my God.' The local 
version . of the martyrdom prevailing on the Coromandel 
Coast, as given by Marco Polo and Bishop John de Marignolli, 
is that St. Thomas while praying in the wood was accidentally 
shot by an arrow aimed at a peacock. Yet another version 


of the story, as related by Linschoten, is that, owing to the 
miracle performed by St. Thomas of removing a log of wood 
which fell into the mouth of the haven of the town of Mvla- 


pore and blocked the traffic, whereby many conversions were 
made, the Brahmins became his great enemies and sought 
to bring about his death, which in the end they accomplished 
by persuading some of the people to stab him on his back 
while praying in the church. The same narrator states 
that this incident is found painted and set up in many places 
and churches in India in memory of the event. There are 
also other local versions as will be seen later on. However, 
the old Liturgical Books and Martyrologies of the Nestorian, 
Latin and Greek Churches, all testify to the fact that the 
Apostle Thomas won a martyr's crown by being pierced 
by a lance. 

Here Dr. Medlycott takes the opportunity of challen- 
ging the statement made by Mr. W. E. Philipps in The Indian 
Antiquary of April 1903, that the learned Orientalist Asse- 
mani deemed the Indian relics of St. Thomas a Nestorian 
fabrication. Dr. Medlycott points out that the statement 
is misleading, since Assemani in the fourth volume of his 
learned work, Bibliotheca Orientalis, Rome, 1728, covers 
ten folio pages with his proofs in defence of the Indian 
Apostolate of Thomas, which he establishes on the authority 
of the Fathers in reply to Besnage's cavillings ; and further 
adduces evidence from the Liturgical Books of the Syrian 
Churches including the Nestorian section, and of Syrian 
writers, both in proof of his Apostolate as well as of his 
martyrdom in India. But the corpus or bones, as Assemani 
points out, having been transferred from India to Edessa, 
and Syrian, Greek and Latin writers having, from the fourth 
centurv, written of the body of Thomas as having been 







removed ' to Edessa of Mesopotamia,' what Assemani really 
denies is that the body was found by the Portuguese in 
India ; and quite rightly, adds Dr. Medlycott, because the 
Portuguese on arriving in India, unaware of the historical 
data now available regarding the remains of the Apostle, 
assumed that the tomb at Mylapore yet held the entire re- 
mains. An admission made by Mr. Philipps in the para- 
graph previous to the one containing the statement challen- 
ged, appears however to have escaped Dr. Medlycott's notice. 
Mr. Philipps says that the constant tradition of the Church 
seems to have been that the body was taken to Edessa, 
that St. Ephraem, as quoted by him, seems to imply that 
part of the body had been left in India ; and yet Mr. Philipps, 
in the following paragraph of his article, makes the unquali- 
fied statement that Assemani deemed the Indian relics of 
St. Thomas a Nestorian fabrication, whereas as shown 
above all that Assemani denied was that the body was found 
by the Portuguese on their arrival in India ; and this cer- 
tainly does not exclude the belief by Assemani himself 
in St. Ephraem's statement that portion of the remains 
of the Apostle was left behind in India. As a fact the 
authorities at the Cathedral of San Thome claim to possess 
only a very small portion of the relics, consisting of a 
fragment of a bone and the extreme point of a lance. 


Dr. Medlycott then gives a summary of the tradition 
universally accepted by the St. Thomas Christians of the 
West Coast, and found prevailing in India at the arrival 
of the Portuguese as reported by their early writers ; viz., 
that St. Thomas landed on the Malabar Coast at Kodangular 
(Cranganore), that seven Churches were established, that 
the Apostle then passed from Malabar to the Coro- 
mandel Coast, where he suffered martyrdom, and that at 
some subsequent period a violent persecution raged against 
the Christians on the Coromanclel Coast, compelling many 
of them to take refuge among their brethren on the West 
Coast, where they settled down. 

He quotes Col. Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, as 
upholding the Malabar tradition that it was at Cranganore 
the Apostle landed and first preached there. St. Francis 
Xavier is also quoted in support of the existence of the 
belief among the Christians of Socotra at the time of his 
visit to that Island, that St. Thomas landed on the Malabar 
Coast and that they themselves were the descendants of 
the converts made by the Apostle. 

Theophilus, the missionary sent by Constantine about 
the year 354 A.D., is said to have gone, in the course of his 
missionary journey, from the Maldives to " other parts of 
India and reformed many things which were not rightly 
done among them." Dr. Medlycott argues that Malabar, 
which is but a short sail from the Maldives, must have been 
included in the " other parts of India " referred to. Mr. 
Vincent Smith supports Dr.Medlycott in his contention,in his 
Early History of India, 1914, Appendix M., where he remarks 


** Dr. Medlycott is, I think, right in holding that Theophilus 
visifced Malabar and found Christians in that region." He 
also says that "the historical traditions of India and Ceylon 
when read together seem to carry the evidence for the exist- 
ence of the Church in Malabar to the third century." And 
apart from the Ceylon tradition, he says : "I see no reason 
for hesitating to believe the Indian tradition that Manikka 
Vasagar visited Malabar and reconverted two families of 
Christians to Hinduism. The descendants of these families, 
who are still known as Manigramakars, are not admitted to 
full privilege as caste Hindus. Some traditions place the 
reconversion as having occurred about A.D. 270. If that 
date be at all nearly correct, the Malabar Church must be 
considerably older. So far as I can appreciate the value, 
of the arguments from the history of Tamil literature, there 
seems to be good independent reasons for believing that 
Manikka Vasagar may have lived in the third century. 
Some authors even place him about the beginning of the 
second century. If he really lived so early his relation with 
the Church in Malabar would confirm the belief in its Apos- 
tolic origin." As, however, the question of Manikka 
Vasagar's date is still in dispute we need not rely on this 
evidence. Besides, as has been shown, we have other in- 
dependent evidence to support the tradition connecting 
St. Thomas with Southern India. 


After quoting St. John Chrysostom and the Gospel of 
the XII Apostles, recently recovered from different Coptic 
papyrus and other texts, and compiled probably not later 
than in the second century, in support of the tradition that 
St. Thomas had visited nearly the whole of the inhabited 
world in the course of his Apostolic career, Dr. Medlycott 
sums up the traditional record of the Apostle as follows : 

(1) He would have preached through the whole of that 
tract of country lying south of the Caspian Sea the ' Mare 
Hyrcanum' of his days east of the mountain range of Armenia 
.and of the Tigris, down to Karmania in Southern Persia. 

(2) It would be during this first Apostolic tour that he 
came in contact with the north-western corner of India at 
Gondophares' court. 

(3) After the demise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when 
according to ecclesiastical tradition, the second dispersion 
of the Apostles took place, St. Thomas would have commen- 
ced his second Apostolic tour. Probably from Palestine he 
travelled into Northern Africa and thence, preaching through 
Ethiopia, he passed on to Socotra, where he must have 
stayed some time to establish the faith. Going thence he 
would have landed on the West Coast of India. 

(4) From Malabar the Apostle would find no difficulty 
in crossing over to the Coromandel Coast. 

(5) It would be on the Coromandel Coast that he ended 
his Apostolic labours, and this is upheld by the joint tradi- 
tions of the Coromandel and Malabar coasts. 

It is indeed interesting to see how the various traditions 
regarding the Apostle mutually hang together ; and 


(See Explanation p. vi.) 


Dr. Medlycott naturally remarks, how unreasonable it is to 
suppose that traditions converging from various points 
mutually self-supporting, can be the outcome of legendary 
imaginings. It is for those, he adds, who contest them to 
prove that they are inconsistent with any known facts, and 
consequently baseless. Until then, he rightly contends, 
they hold the field. 


As regards the name Calamina, which is mentioned in 
some of the writings as the place in India where the Apostle 
Thomas was martyred, there has been much speculation. 
Dr. Medlycott refers specially to the article by Mr. Philipps, 
which we have already alluded to. because, as he says, 
vague hints are thrown out and c speculation ' indulged in 
to the effect that c Caramana ', our modern Karman in 
southern Persia, might represent Calamina. Mr. Philipps 
held that c from a geographical, an ethnical, arid indeed as 
it seems to me, from every point of view ', the site of the 
Apostle's tomb ought to be looked for in that quarter rather 
than in Southern India. Dr. Medlycott, on the other hand, 
contends that Calamina never had a geographical existence, 
that the name does not appear in any of the older writings- 
treating of the Apostle, while where it is mentioned, it is 
added that it is situated in India. India, then, and Southern 
India we should say, considering the evidence we have 
already adduced, is the country where we should look for 
the tomb of St. Thomas. What place is there in India, 
asks Dr. Medlycott, other than Mylapore, which has ever 
set forth a claim to it ? Decidedly none : in no other part of 
India, nor elsewhere, has such a claim been raised that of 
Edessa was for a second tomb where the sacred remains 
rested after removal from India. Why, then, should there 
be any objection to its being placed in Southern India, and 
topographically at Mylapore, especially as Mr. Philipps 
himself admits, ' there is nothing inherently improbable in 
such a supposition ' ? As to ' Carmana ' or Carmania of 
old, now Karman, Dr. Medlycott further points out that the 
Nestorians who had churches, priests and Christians in that 
part of Persia down to past the middle of the seventh century, 


must certainly have known if at any time it held the Apostle's 
tomb ; that a claim so much nearer home would not have 
been overlooked by them ; and they certainly would not 
have come to India to search for it. Quotations are given 
from a letter of the Nestorian patriarch, Jesuab, A.D. 
650660, addressed to Simeon, Bishop of Kavardshir, the 
Metropolitan of Persia at the time, to show how groundless 
the suggestion put forward by Mr. Philipps is. Dr. Medly- 
cott however remarks : c We owe it in fairness to the 
writer of the paper to add that having received from us a 
copy of the above passages, he reproduced them by way of 
rectification in a Note published in the Indian Antiquary, 
1904, page 31, under the heading Miscellanea. This phase 
of the question may now be considered closed." 

Gutschmid, again, held the view that Calamina must 
be identified with Calama on the seaboard of Gedrosa, 
pointing out that Calama was in the time of the Apostle, 
under the sceptre of Gandopheres. On the face of it this 
view is quite untenable as the Apostle was put to death 
under the orders of quite another King named Mazdai, 
and the place of his martyrdom must have been under the 
sceptre of the latter and not of the former. 

Dr. Medlycott himself goes further into the subject. 
He observes that the name does not appear in any of the 
older authentic writings treating of the Apostle. It appears 
first in a group of mostly anonymous writings in Greek, 
which give a brief summary of the doings, preachings and 
deaths of the Apostles. From this class of writing to which 
scholars have not been able to assign a date, the supposed 
authors, Sophronius, a friend of St. Jerome, Hippolytus, 
Dorotheus and another are quoted as mentioning Calamina 
in India as the place of St. Thomas's martyrdom. From 


these writings again the name appears to have been taken up 
by some Syrian writers, and to have made its way into the 
later Martyr ologies. 

Some scholars have tried to discredit the authority 
of these anonymous writings ; but where is the object of 
discrediting them if at the same time attempts are made 
to identify Calamina with some place outside India. It 
is a significant fact that no tradition of any kind has been 
traced as having existed at any time in Northern India, 
Afghanistan, Belnchistan, Persia or Arabia, connecting the 
martyrdom and burial of the Apostle with any place in 
those regions. 

Dr. Medlycott is inclined to regard the name Calamina, 
as fictitious, and ventures on a suggestion as to how it did 
get connected with the Apostle in the minds of the writers 
referred to, as the place of his martyrdom in India. Dr. 
Medlycott thinks that Calamina is probably a compound of 
the word Kalah, the name of a port, the existence of which 
in the vicinity of India is historically beyond a doubt, and 
elmina which in Syriac denotes a port. Dr. Macleane, in 
the Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency, 
suggests that Calamina may be a corruption from Coro- 
mandel. This is the name of a small village on the coast 
north of Madras, which has come to be applied to the East- 
ern Coast of the Peninsula of India. There is also the 
suggestion in Hobson Jobson by Col. Yule and Dr. Burnell, 
that the name is in fact Choramandalam, the Eealm of 
Chora, this being the Tamil form of the very ancient title 
of the Tamil Kings who reigned at Tan j ore. The name 
also occurs in the forms Cholamandalam or Solamandalam 
on the great Temple inscription of Tanjore (llth century) 
and in an inscription of A.D. 1101 at a temple dedicated 


to Varahaswami near Seven Pagodas. It is not unlikely 
that Calamina, as mentioned by the old writers, was origi- 
nally meant for the coast on which the town where the 
Apostle was martyred was situated. The suggestion, how- 
ever, put forward in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIII, 
page 382, by the ]ate Rev. James Doyle, who was for some- 
time Editor of the Catholic Register, the organ of the diocese 
of San Thome, is much to the point. He finds it far more 
reasonable to believe that Calamina was an ancient town 
at the foot of the hill, St. Thomas' Mount, that has wholly 
disappeared, as many more recent historic Indian cities, 
have done. This much is certain as he says, till the Euro- 
peans settled in the place there was no Indian name even 
for the hill. This appears from the present Indian name 
Faranghi Malai (i.e., the hill of the Franks) which is used 
to denote both the hill and the town around its base, a service 
which the English name St. Thomas Mount equally fulfils. 


As to Mylapore, Dr. Medlycott tries to identify it with 
Ptolemy's Manarpha or Maliarpha. Of the different texts 
examined by the author the latter form preponderates, and 
Dr. Medlycott argues that the form Maliarpha contains 
the two essential ingredients of the name Maliapur, which 
would be the form known or reported to the Greek geogra- 
phers. A Greek desinence, as customary in such cases, has 
evidently been introduced, so in place of pur or phur (which 
may represent a more ancient form of pronunciation) we 
have the Greek termination pha ; nor has the sound r of the 
Indian name disappeared, for it has passed to the preced- 
ing syllable of the word. He adds that if we take into con- 
sideration the inaccurate reproduction of Indian names in 
Ptolemy's present text, it is almost a surprise that so much 
of the native sound of the name is yet retained. It must 
be admitted that the name, Mylapore, is not mentioned by 
other writers until about the fifteenth century. The fact, 
however, that the maps illustrating Ptolemy's geography 
place Maliarpha where the present Mylapore would be 
shown is much in favour of Dr. Medlycott 's view. The 
same identification was suggested previously by D'Anville, 
the French geographer of the eighteenth century (Georgaphie 
Ancienne Abregie, Paris, 1788) ; as also by Paulinus a Sto. 
Bartholomeo, the Carmelite missionary of the West Coast 
(India Orientalis Christiana, Komae, 1794). 

Col. Love in his Vestiges of Old Madras supports this 
view, and says that Mylapore is generally considered to be 
the Malli-arpha of Ptolemy, and that the original designa- 
tion of the Portuguese settlement was San Thome de 
Meliapur. Hunter in the Imperial Gazetteer of India states 
that the name Mylapur is spelt variously Mayilapuram, or 



Peacock town ; Malaipuram, or Mount Town ; Meliapar, 
Mirapur (by the Portuguese) ; and Meelapur in the Tohfatal 
Majohudin ; that it has been suggested that it is the Mali- 
fattan of Kashid-ud-din, but that more recent inquirers 
favour the identification of Negapatam with Malifattan. 
Dr. Macleane in his Manual of the Administration of the 
Madras Presidency gives the derivation of Mylapore from 
mayil, Tamil for peacock, and pur a, Sanscrit for city, with 
reference, according to the Brahmins, to the tradition that 
Parvaty worshipped her husband Shiva in the form of a 
peacock. According to the local Christian tradition the 
name would seem to be similarly derived, but with reference 
to the story ascribing the death of St. Thomas to an arrow 
aimed at one of the peacocks which were about him while 
praying in the wood and testifying to the fact that peacocks 
were plentiful in the locality then. 

Dr. Medlycott lays special stress on the Malabar tradi- 
tion in support of the claim of Mylapore to hold the tomb 
of the Apostle. He is thoroughly convinced even quite 
apart from all the evidence previously adduced that if the 
claim of Mylapore to be the place of the martyrdom and of 
the burial of the Apostle was not based on undeniable fact, 
the Christians of Malabar would never have acknowledged 
their neighbours' claim to hold the tomb of the Apostle, 
neither would they ever be induced to frequent it by way 
of pilgrimage. Further had this been a case of fictitious 
claim put forth to secure public notoriety and importance, 
they would, Dr. Medlycott adds, as probably have, any way, 
set up one for themselves and would have certainly ignored 
the claim of the former. 

Mr. J. Kennedy in The East and The West, April 1907, 
admits that a considerable amount of truth underlies the 


legend of St. Thomas's ApostlesMp. that the shrine at 
Mylapore had been for many centuries in existence when it 
was visited by Marco Polo, and that the mention of the 
miraculous log makes it certain that the shrine Theodore 
visited in the sixth century was Mylapore. But he is wholly 
sceptical as to the tomb at Mylapore being the real tomb 
of the Apostle, as he would confine him to Parthia and the 
Indus valley, losing sight of the evidence brought forward 
above, which clearly shows that he cannot reasonably do so. 
Accordingly, he goes to the length oi suggesting that " the 
discovery of the tomb of St. Thomas on the summit of a 
wooded hill far from the habitations of men and from all 
other Christian communities, must certainly have been the 
work of some Christian hermit," since, as he makes out, in the 
early ages " both in the East and the West the discovery 
of wonder-working graves was almost entirely the work of 
these wandering ascetics," (hermits and monks) who played 
a great part in the diffusion of Eastern Christianity,, 
especially in the wilder districts." Apart from the inaccu- 
racy of the statement that the tomb was discovered on the 
top of a hill, whereas it is located in a suburb of Madras 
on a level with it, the assumptions contained in the state- 
ment that it was far frcm the habitations of men and from 
all other Christian communities, are too glaring to need even 
notice. ' Western saints ; in the centuries immediately 
succeeding Constantino, " he says, (( had frequent occasion 
to expose the claims of so-called martyrs' tombs to super- 
stitious veneration, nor is it less the duty of the modern 
historian." Just so ; and this has been the attitude of the 
Church all through. But to assert that because in the 
early ages miracles were related as having occurred in 
connection with the tombs of saints, and in some cases 


they have been proved to be spurious, that in this case 
the discovery of the tomb must certainly have been 
the work of a hermit, is surely not historical criticism. 
To talk, besides, as he does, of " the worship of wonder- 
working tombs " and of the veneration of the tomb of St. 
Thomas at Mylapore as a Christian example of the Pagan 
cult prevailing throughout India, shows strong anti-Catholic 
bias. Catholics who venerate the tomb are not compelled 
to believe in its genuineness ; and they know well that it is a 
question of evidence and they may be mistaken as to the 
fact. They regard it, in any case, in the light of a memo- 
rial, whereby the saint is remembered and honoured. If 
miracles are said to have occurred in connection with the 
reputed tomb or relics, Catholics understand again that here 
also it is a question of evidence, and that, if genuine, they 
are the result of faith excited by the memorial of the saint, 
whose intercession had been implored by clients for Divine 
interposition on their behalf. 


To sum up, the weight of evidence and probability 
would seem plainly to support the following conclusions : 

(1) That St. Thomas did visit and preach the Gospel 
in India, that is, India as we know it now ; 

(2) That as two very ancient documents, such as the 
Doctrine of the Apostles and the Acts of St. Thomas state, 
one, that " India and all its countries and those bordering 
on it, even to the farthest sea, received the Apostle's hand 
of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and Euler 
in the Church which he built there and ministered there," and 
the other, that the Apostle preached " throughout all India", 
and as St. Ephraem refers to the people of the land, which 
fell to the lot of St. Thomas, as " dark " and " sunburnt ", 
while Dr. Fleet admits that the term " India " as used by 
ancient writers included the whole of the south-eastern part of 
Asia on the south of the Himalaya Mountains so as to take 
in Burma and Siam., Cochin-China, the Malay Peninsula 
and the Indian Archipelago, there is no reason why Southern 
India should be excluded from the field of the Apostle's 
labours as some writers have endeavoured to do, in the face 
of such evidence and in spite of the persistent traditions 
connecting St. Thomas with it ; 

(3) That the Apostle did visit the Courts of two Kings 
reigning in India, one of whom may be taken for certainty 
to be Gondophares in the North, while the other mentioned 
in the Acts as Mazdai may reasonably be identified with 
MaJiadeva, a name common enough among Kings of the 
South Indian dynasties, since the suggestion to identify 
King Mazdai with Vasudeva of Mathura, who, as we have 


shown, was not contemporary with St. Thomas, cannot 
now be maintained ; 

(4) That it may be taken, therefore, that the Apostle 
was martyred in Southern India "outside the City " and " on 
a mountain," as related in the Acts, and that St. Thomas' 
Mount and Mylapore are the only places which have been 
identified with the mountain and city where the Apostle 
was ma tyred and buried, by a persistant tradition, the 
like of which cannot be traced as having ever existed in 
connection with any other place or places in India or else- 
where : 

(5) That his remains were at a very early period 
removed from India to Edessa, thence to Chios and finally 
to Ortona, where they now repose ; 

(6) That, as at the original removal part of the 
remains were left behind in India as appears from St.. 
Ephraem, the relics still preserved in an ancient reliquary in 
the Cathedral at St. Thome may, not unlikely, be parts 
of the relics left in the tomb. 



Some critics, losing sight of the evidence we have 
brought forward, suggest that as some authorities mention 
Parthia as the country evangelized by St. Thomas, and 
others India, the term ' India ' had a vague signification in 
ancient times. They fail to see that the Apostle might easily 
have been connected with both, as is narrated in the tradi- 
tion preserved in the Roman Breviary and the Roman Mar- 
tyrology, that he preached not only to the Parthians, but 
also to the Medes, the Persians, the Hircaneans, and the 
Bactrians and finally betook himself to the Indians, where he 
ended his days by gaining the crown of martyrdom ; and 
that the mention of his connection with one of these coun- 
tries by any writer need not necessarily be taken to exclude 
the others, so as to require a forced explanation of the term 
"India." Again, in connection with the tradition that St. 
Thomas was martyred at Calamina in India, attempts have 
been made to include Persia, Arabia and Ethiopia in the 
India of the ancients and to locate Calamina somewhere 
outside India proper. We have noted the description given 
by Dr. Fleet of the India of the ancients, which distinctly 
excludes Persia, Arabia and Ethiopia from the limits of 
ancient India ; and this is confirmed by an old document 
like the Bible itself, where a very explicit statement occurs 
in Esther i, 1 regarding Assuerus, who is said to have 
u reigned from India even unto Ethiopia over one hundred 


and seven and twenty provinces ", showing clearly that 
a wide tract of country lay between India and Ethiopia. 
This would exclude not only Ethiopia itself from the India 
of the ancients, but also Persia, which is mentioned in the 
same book of the Bible as a separate Kingdom (Esther 
xvi, 14), and Arabia which is spoken of in other books as 
quite a distinct country (3 Kings x, 15 ; Jer. xxv, 24 ; 
Gal. i, 17 ; iv, 25). 


This being so, Dr. Medlycott's contention that the 
mission field of St. Pantaenus was not the ' India of the 
Brahmins' as St. Jerome has stated, but Arabia Felix, can- 
not be upheld. He has been at the pains of trying to prove 
this, because other writers have put forward the claim of 
St. Pantaenus to be the first missionary who came to India 
after St. Bartholomew, with the object of rejecting the 
tradition connecting St. Thomas with it. But if there is 
quite other independent evidence in support of St. Thomas's 
connection with India, as Dr. Medlycott himself has shown 
and as we have further brought forward, how is that evi- 
dence in any way weakend by conceding that St. Bartho- 
lomew at some time, before or after St. Thomas, did visit 
some part of India, where he left copies of the Gospel of 
St. Matthew in Hebrew, one of which St. Pantsenus, who 
was sent from Alexandria to India in the second century, 
took back with him. The incident is related on the autho- 
rity of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (A.D. 265 340) and of 
St. Jerome (A.D. 331 or 340420) ; but St. Jerome also 
connects St. Thomas with India in a way as to convey the 
unmistakable impression that St. Thomas was known in 
his days as the real Apostle of India, for he writes of our 
Saviour that " He was present in all places with Thomas 
in India, with Peter in Eome, with Paul in Illyria, with 
Titus in Crete, with Andrew in Achaia, with each apostolic 
man in each and all countries." Besides, while, as we have 
already seen from the Doctrine of the Apostles, St. Thomas 
is connected there with India in a special manner, where, it 
is said, he was " Guide and Kuler in the Church which he 
built there and ministered there," it is also stated in that 


document that the Apostles ;< visited one another " and 
" ministered to each other." There should be no surprise,, 
therefore, to find it related that St. Bartholomew also 
visited India. 

The Kev. George Milne Rae in his book The Syrian 
Church in India admits that the India to which St. Pan- 
taenus was sent was certainly not Arabia Felix, as Mosheim 
seems to have held ; but he endeavours to confine the Saint's 
missionary labours eo northern India, that is, the India, 
as he says, of Alexander the Great. Of course, his whole 
aim is to make out that Christianity was not introduced 
into Southern India until the beginning of the sixth century 
and then only from the Nestorian patriarchate on the banks 
of the Tigris by way of the Persian Gulf, and thus to dis- 
credit the tradition connecting St. Thomas with Southern 
India. Accordingly in support of his contention that St. Bar- 
tholomew and St. Pantaenus both preached in the North, 
he makes the assertion that " in the second century," when 
the latter is reported to have corne to India, " there were 
neither Jews, Christians, nor Brahmins in Malabar," and 
that the community of Christians of St. Bartholomew, 
whom he places in the north, were at the end of the second 
century in so depressed a condition " that they were fain to 
get help from any quarter, and that perhaps they found 
it easier, by reason of the regular marine trade with 
Alexandria, to communicate with the latter than with their 
own mother Church in Mesopotamia, from which they 
had long been separated." 

Rev. W. J. Richards, for thirty-five years C. M. S. Mis- 
sionary in Travancore and Cochin, who, since Dr. Medlycott 
wrote, has collected fresh evidence in support of the 


tradition connecting St. Thomas with Southern India, 
shows that there were Jews as well as Brahmins in the 
Apostolic age in Malabar (The Indian Christians of St. 
Thomas, 1908) ; while we learn from Vincent A. Smith, a 
recognized authority on the early history of India, that the 
Brahmins penetrated into the south many centuries before 
the Christian era. (The Oxford History of India, 1919, 
page 14.) 

As to the suggestion that the moribund Christian com- 
munity of the north were glad to seek help from Alexandria 
by reason of the marine trade, rather than from their 
mother Church in Mesopotamia, which was so much nearer 
them, it evidently did not occur to Rev. Milne Rae that 
it really militates against his main contention ; for, if it 
was easier then for the Christian community in the north 
to be recruited from Alexandria, by reason of the regular 
marine trade, it must have been just as easy for St. 
Thomas and St. Pantaenus himself after the former, to 
have found their way to Southern India, while there is no 
reason why this part of India should have waited for six 
centuries, in spite of the facilities afforded by the marine 
trade, before its turn came to be evangelized, and then 
too, as Mr. Milne Rae would have it, by Nestorians from 
the banks of the Tigris by way of the Persian Gulf. 


In connection with the claim to antiquity of the settle- 
ment of the Jews in Malabar, the Cochin Census Report, 
1901, as quoted by Thurston in Castes and Tribes of Southern 
India, 1909, says that they "are supposed to have first come 
in contact with a Dradivian people as early as the time of 
Solomon about B.C. lO'OO, for ( philology proves that the 
precious cargoes of Solomon's merchant ships came from 
the ancient coast of Malabar.' It is possible that such 
visits were frequent enough in the years that followed. But 
the actual settlement of the Jews on the Malabar Coast 
might not have taken place until long afterwards. Mr. 
Logan, in the Manual of Malabar, writes that ( the Jews have 
traditions, which carry back their arrival on the coast to 
the time of their escape from servitude under Cyrus in the 
sixth century B.C.', and the same fact is referred to by 
Sir W. Hunter in his ' History of British India.' This 
eminent historian, in his Indian Empire speaks of Jewish 
settlements in Malabar long before the second century A.D. 
A Roman merchant that sailed regularly from Myos Hor- 
rnaz on the Red Sea to Arabia, Ceylon and Malabar, is 
reported to have found a Jewish colony in Malabar in the 
second century A.D. In regard to the settlement of the 
Jews in Malabar, Mr. Whish observes that < c the Jews them- 
selves say that Mar Thomas, the Apostle, arrived in India 
in the year of our Lord 52, and themselves, the Jews, in the 
year 69 ! In view of the commercial intercourse between 
the Jews and the people of the Malabar Coast long before 
the Christian era, it seems highly probable that Christianity 
but followed in the wake of Judaism. The above facts 
seem to justify the conclusion that the Jews must have set- 
tled in Malabar at least as early as the first century A.D.'* 


Mr. W. E. Philipps, in the article in the Indian 
Antiquary, April 1903, which we have been dealing with, 
says : " I am not aware that the ecclesiastical authorities 
at Rome have ever given any real support to the modern 
belief that St. Thomas was martyred near Madras, and 
buried at San Thome or Mylapore ; there may be documents 
in which the idea is mentioned, but never, I think, as a fact 
established ; always with some qualifying phrase so as to 
leave the question open." If Mr. Philipps had referred to 
the Bull of Pope Paul V erecting the diocese of San Thome 
of Mylapore in 1606, he would have seen that one reason 
for doing so was " because there lay buried the body of St. 
Thomas " There is no qualifying phrase ; and it is further 
emphatically stated that the Holy Father " by the apostolic 
authority has raised it in perpetuity to, and established it 
as the city of St. Thomas." 

Again Leo XITI in his Apostolic letter dated the 1st 
September 1886, establishing the Episcopal hierarchy in the 
East Indies refers to the tradition in the following terms : 

61 It has been the constant tradition of the Church that 
the duty of undertaking the discharge of the apostolic office in 
the vast regions of the East Indies fellto the lot of St.Thomas. 
He, indeed it was, as ancient literary monuments testify 
who, after Christ's Ascension into Heaven, having travelled 
to Ethiopia, Persia, Hyrcania and finally to the peninsula 
beyond the Indus by a most difficult route attended with 
most serious hardships, first enlightened those nations with 
the light of Christian truth : and having paid to the Chief 
Pastor of souls the tribute of his blood, was called away to 
his everlasting reward in Heaven. From that time forward 


India never altogether ceased to revere the Apostle who 
had deserved so well of that country. In the most ancient 
books of liturgical prayers, as well as in other monuments of 
those ancient Churches, the name and praises of Thomas 
were wont to be celebrated, and even in the lapse of ages 
after a lamentable propagation of error his memory has in 
no wise been defaced." 

And further on in the same document where he speaks 
of new dioceses having been erected in India four centuries 
ago when the Portuguese possessions grew in extent he 
refers to the diocese of Mylapore as having been established 
by Paul V in the city of St. Thomas. 

And yet, as Mgr. Zaleski, the late Delegate Apostolic 
of the East Indies, puts it in his work. The Apostle St. Thomas 
in India 1912, there has been a tendency even among some 
Catholic writers to demolish the old traditions of the Church, 
which play so important a part in the religious life of the 
people. They profess to do so in the name of what they 
consider historical criticism and under pretext of keeping 
on a level with modern scientific methods. We may add 
that these writers lose sight of the fact that considering 
the vicissitudes through which the world has passed, the 
absence of positive contemporary evidence in favour of 
these old traditions is no proof that they are not founded 
on fact. 



Luis Vas de Camoes (or Camoens), the most sublime 
figure in the history of Portuguese literature, in his great 
epic poem, The Lusiads, which celebrates the glories of 
Portuguese conquests in India, thus sings of St. Thomas, 
the Apostle, and Mylapore : 

" Here rose the potent city, Meliapor 

Named, in olden time rich, vast and grand : 
Her sons their olden idols did adore 

As still adoreth that iniquitous band : 
In those past ages stood she far from shore, 

When to declare glad tidings over the land 
Thome came preaching after he had trod 

A thousand regions taught to know his God. 

Here came he preaching, and the while he gave 

Health to the sick, revival to the dead ; 
When chance one day brought floating o'er the wave 

A forest tree of size unmeasured : 
The King a Palace building lief would save 

The waif for timber, and determined 
The mighty bulk of trunk ashore to train 

By force of engines, elephants and men. 

Now was that lumber of such vasty size, 

No jot it moves, however hard they bear ; 
When lo ! th' Apostle of Christ's verities 

Wastes in the business less of toil and care : 
His trailing waist-cord to the tree he ties, 

Raises and sans an effort hales it where 
A sumptuous Temple he would rear sublime, 

A fixt example for all future time. 



Right well lie knew liow 'tis of Faith aver'd 

' Faith moveth mountains * will or nill they move, 
Lending a listening ear to Holy Word : 

As Christ had taught him, so 'twas his to prove : 
By such a mira.cle much the mob was stir'd ; 

The Brahmins held it something from above ; 
For, seen his signs and seen his saintly life, 

They fear the loss of old prerogative. 

These be the sacerdotes of Gentoo-Creed, 

That of sore jealousy felt most the pain ; 
They seek ill ways a thousand and take rede 

Thome to silence or to gar him slain : 
The Principal who dons the three-twine thread, 

By a deed of horror makes the lesson plain, 
There be no Hatred fell, and fere and curst, 

As by false Virtue for true Virtue nurst. 

One of his sons he slaughters and accuses 

Thome of murther, who was innocent ; 
Bringing false witnesses, as there the use is, 

Him to the death they doom incontinent. 
The Saint, assured that his best excuses 

Are his appeals to God Omnipotent, 
Prepares to work before the King and Court 

A publick marvel of the major sort. 

He bids be brought the body of the slain 

That it may live again and be affied 
To name its slayer, and its word be tane 

As proof of testimony certified. 
All saw the youth revive, arise again 

In name of Jesu Christ the Crucified ; 
Thome he thanks when raised to life anew 

And names his father as the man who slew. 


So much of marvel did this miracle claim, 

Straightway in Holy water bathes the King 
Followed by many : These kiss Thome's hem 

While those the praises of his Godhead sing. 
Such ire the Brahmans and such furies' flame, 

Envy so pricks them with her venom'd sting, 
That rousing ruffian-rout to wrath condign 

A second slaughter-plot the Priests design. 

One day when preaching to the folk he stood, 

They feigned a quarrel ' mid the mob to rise : 
Already Christ His Holy man endow' d 

With saintly martyrdom that open the skies. 
Rained innumerable stones the crowd 

Upon the victim, sacred sacrifice, 
And last a villain, hastier than the rest, 

Pierced with a cruel spear his godly breast. 

Wept Ganges and Indus, true Thome thy fate, 

Wept thee whatever lands thy foot had trod ; 
Yet weep thee more the souls in blissful state 

Thou led'st to don the robes of Holy Rood. 
But Angels waiting at the Paradise-gate 

Meet thee with similing faces, hyming God. 
We pray thee, pray that still vouchsafe thy Lord 

Unto thy Lusians His good aid afford. 

(Burton's The Lusiads, Canto X, vs. 109-118). 



This, the traditional scene of the martyrdom of St.. 
Thomas, is familiarly known as the " Big Mount", as Mr. 
J. J. Cotton has noted in his List of Inscriptions on 
Tombs or Monuments in Madras ; and we should add, 
not " Great Mount " or " Great Mount St. Thomas " as som e 
writers affect to call it. As far as our experience of over 
half a century goes St. Thomas' Mount has always been 
called " Big Mount " by the residents of Madras to distin- 
guish it from the " Little Mount, 1 ' which is about two 
miles nearer Madras. In fact it is not big enough to be called 
" Great Mount." Its proper name, St. Thomas' Mount, 
is well known to geographers and historians, and sufficiently 
locates and identifies the place. It is an isolated cliff of 
green stone and syenite 300 feet above the level of the sea 
and about 8 miles south-west of Madras. It is also famous 
for the traditional bleeding cross which was found by the 
Portuguese about A.D. 1547, when digging amongst the 
ruins of former Christian buildings for the foundation of 
the chapel over whose altar the cross was subsequently 
fixed. When discovered, spots resembling blood-stains, 
it is said, were observed on it which reappeared after being 
scraped away. There is also a painting in this church of 
the Mother and Child which is believed to be one of the 
seven portraits executed by the hand of the Apostle Luke. 
St. Thomas, the tradition asserts, brought it with him to 
India- The church itself is dedicated to " Our Lady of 
Expectation." Correa relates how a beacon fire was lighted 
nightly on the Mount for the benefit of iraiiiierswtono sooner 
sighted it than they struck their sails and made obeisance ; 
and Colonel Love remarks, in this connection, in his Vestiges 
of Old Madras, 1913, that " the Native Christians of South 







India associated a hill near Madras with St. Thomas and the 
shrine of the Mount was venerated by people of all classes 
and various religions." 

The cross, which is sculptured on a granite slab, has an 
inscription around it. There is a facsimile of it in Epigraphica 
Indica, Volume IV, page 174. ' The characters," says 
Mr. J. J. Cotton in his work quoted above, " are Sassanian 
Pehlevi, ' the divine high piping Pehlevi ' of Omar Khayyam's 
nightingale, stanza vi. It is the old heroic Sanscrit of 
Persia," Dr. A. C. Burnell, M.C.S., was the first in 1873 
to decipher the inscription, which he attributed to the eighth 
century. His translation is as follows : 

" In punishment by the cross the suffering of this who 
is the true Christ, and God above and Guide for ever pure." 

The following is a transliteration of the inscription as 
given by Mr. J. J. Cotton in the work just quoted, and his 
translation of the same : 

Mun hamich Meshikhai avakshayi madam - - afras-ich 
Khar bukhto sur-zay mun bun dardo dena. 

" He whom the suffering of the selfsame Messiah, the 
forgiving and upraising has saved is offering the plea whose 
origin was the agony of this," 

Practically the same inscription is found round the 
two crosses in the Valiyapalli Church at Cottayam in Travan- 
core, followed in the case of the larger cross by a text in 
old Syriac from Galatians vi. 14. " But far be it from me to 
glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Eeferring to the Pehlevi inscription, Rev. W. H. Richards 
in The Indian Christians of St. Thomas, 1908, makes the 
remark that " this language owns no inscription in India 
later than the eighth century." 


The little Mount is a liillock about two miles 
away from St. Thomas' Mount and nearer Madras. It owes 
its name to the Portuguese, who with a view to distinguish 
it from the Big Mount (St. Thomas' Mount) called the former 
" Monte Pique no." It contains a cave to which St. Thomas 
is said to have fled and sought refuge when pursued by his 
persecutors, and farther when discovered to have escaped 
through a hole in it to St. Thomas' Mount where he was 
overtaken and speared to death. A beautiful marble altar 
has been erected in this cave. In 1551 the Portuguese built 
the present Church of our Lady of Health adjoining the cave, 
to which one gains access from within the Church. On the 
west of the Church is a Cross cut in rock before which the 
Apostle was wont to pray. Near by there is an opening 
in the rock about five to six feet in depth. It is called the 
well or fountain of St. Thomas, who is said to have struck the 
rock at this place, from which gushed forth a spring of clear 
water, which quenched the thirst of the multitude hearing 
him preach, and which is believed to have possessed also 
healing qualities. 





Some interesting details in connection with these legends,, 
as related by old Portuguese and other writers, will be found 
in Col. Love's Vestiges of Old Madras. Even if they are 
pure inventions, it must be observed that this fact does not 
in any way militate against our chief contention that 
the Apostle did come to Southern India and was martyred 
on a hill near Madras, seeing that it is supported, as we 
have shown, by quite other independent evidence. On the* 
other hand, the absence of positive evidence in support 
of these legends is no proof that the main facts, however much 
they may have been added to and distorted, are not based 
on reality, or are by any means out of keeping with the 
belief founded on scripture that the Apostles went forth 
into the world endowed with the gift of speech and the 
power of performing miracles. 

It mav here be mentioned that the Rev. Fr. H. 


Hosten, S. J., of Darjeeling, who spent some time at San 
Thome about the beginning of 1 921 , devoted his stay here 
to investigations connected with the story of St. Thomas 
and of his traditional connection with San Thome, Mylapore r 
taking notes archaeological, historical and bibliographical. 
He has since started publishing weekly in the Catholic- 
Herald of India, beginning with the issue of 27th July 1921, 
tentative articles on his findings, which are eliciting correc- 
tions and additions, especially from the St. Thomas Chris- 
tians of Malabar, and have led further to measures being 
taken to have translated into English a volume on St.. 
Thomas and the Malabar traditions by the Rev. Fr. Bernard 
of St. Thomas, T. 0. C. D. This work was published in 


Malayalam in 1917, and filling about 500 pages would, Fr. 
Hosten remarks, be of the greatest service to scholars, as the 
whole question of early Christianity in Malabar is there 
reviewed in the light of archeology, native records and 

21st December 1921. 



The following are the principal authorities consulted 
and referred to in the text : 

The Bible. 

The Roman Breviary. 

The Roman Martyrolyy. 

Paul V, The Papal Bull of 1606, erecting the Diocese 
of San Thome de Meliapor. 

Leo XIII, Apostolic Leltzr of 1886, establishing the 

Hierarchy in India. 

Ancient Syriac Documents, London, 1864. 
Dr. Burkit in Encyclopedia Britannioa, Vol. XXVI, 

llth Edn. 

Rev. H. Thurston in Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol,. 
XIV, p. 658. 

Rev. James Doyle in Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 
XIII, p. 382. 

W. R. Philipps in Indian Antiquary, 1903, page 1 ff, 

page 145 ff, and 1904 p. 31. 
J. F. Fleet in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society^ 

London, April 1905. 

J. Kennedy in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
London, October 1906, and in The East and the 
West, April 1907. 

Milne Rae, The Syrian Church in India, Edinburg, 


Medlycott, India and the Apostle Thomas, London,. 

Richards, Indian Christians of St. Thomas, London, 

Mgr. Zaleski, The Apostle Thomas in India, 1912. 
Vincent A. Smith, The Early History of India, 1914. 
The Oxford History of India, 1919. 
The Travancore State Manual, 1906. 
Hunter, Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1886. 

J. J. Cotton, List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monu- 
ments in Madras, 1905. 

Sewell, Dynasties of Southern India, 1883. 

Macleane, Manual of the Administration of the 
Madras Presidency, Glossary, Vol. iii, 1893. 

Yule and Burnell, Hobson Jobson, 1903. 

The Cochin Census Report, 1901, as quoted by 
Thurston in Castes and Tribes of Southern India, 1909. 

Col. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras, 1913, 

Camoens, The Lusiads translated by Burton, London, 





Gaylord Bros. 


': Syracuse, N. Y. 
MT. JAN 21, J908